to Sydney Marathon
5th June - 4th July 2004
Day 14 - Cochin
to Munnar (India)
McANDREW IS HOT
STUFF IN INDIA - McRAE STILL LEADS
A new Continent, new sounds, new smells,
new experiences. After a rest day of fettling cars for some
and sightseeing for others competitors were treated to a most
spectacular morning start.
Three magnificent elephants in full ceremonial
kit, a traditional band in costume with their unique trumpets
and a dozen sari-clad maidens festooning the drivers with
garlands and thousands of eager spectators all keen to get
close enough to touch the cars. It was Bollywood meets rallying
on full volume.
Today's stages were through tea plantations
7,000 feet above sea level. Narrow, twisty and full of tight
bends and hairpins. Recent monsoons produced small potholes
in the bumpy tarmac so it was the precision drivers in small
cars that fared best.
Joe McAndrew rediscovered his form and speed
and kept his Honda more or less in the middle of the road
to record fastest time over the first stage, 23 seconds ahead
of leader Jimmy McRae.
McRae had elected to run on near smooth
tarmac tyres, "Not the best choice," he said. "We'd have done
better on a chunky gravel tyre."
Graham Lorimer spent the previous day on
his back recovering from a dose of Delhi Belly and looked
like a grey ghost behind the wheel of his Toyota and recorded
what he described as "not a very enthusiastic time". But it
was good enough to keep him in third place.
Sadly the second stage had to be cancelled
because the Spitfire Club that run the stages India for the
event failed to position the required ambulance, doctor and
recovery truck at the stage start. All the people and equipment
were in position 5 kms away in totally the wrong place. Club
Chairman Mr Gopinath admitted that it was an India-style cock-up.
Competitors were thrilled with their first
day in India. "TV man David Winstanley in his MG who also
has film crew in tow making programmes for Sky TV in the UK
said, "Amazing pictures today, like nothing we've ever shot
Gordon Smith and George
Shepheard had a low speed 'off' into a ditch in their hefty
V8 Holden Monaro. Co-driver George broke a finger and Gordon
has withdrawn the damaged car from event. George will fly
home. "Sad because I was looking forward to my second London-Sydney
finish," said George who ran in the original 1968 event. more...
out daily reports:
June to 4th July 2004 day by day