to Sydney Marathon
5th June - 4th July 2004
Day 24 - Coober
Pedy to Mungerannie
- OTHERS GROVEL IN THE GRAVEL
Today was the first real taste of the Red
Centre outback. The tiny township of William Creek that consists
of little more than its pub and fuel station with town sign
that states it population was the first clue to what happens
out here. Population 18 it said. And handwritten at the bottom
was the encouraging advice of an increase - "But Elsie's pregnant."
The next stop was the town of Marree where
the Oodnadatta stock route meets the Birdsville Track. An
old Afghan town with the remains of a mosque. An Afghan town
in the middle of Australia, you ask?
Yes, at the turn of the century when the
telegraph line was laid in from Adelaide to Alice Springs
camels were needed to move equipment so they were imported
with their cameleer owners from Afghanistan. Hence the mosque
and the herds of feral camels that still roam the outback.
This is tarmac-free country; it's going
to be many days before any of the crews see the black stuff
again. This is the land of gravel both for stages and main
And Joe McAndrew went out and did the business
over 60 racing kms of stages. Once again it was Jimmy McRae
who shadowed him. But Joe was 20 seconds faster over the first
stage and 23 seconds faster over the second which gives Joe
an overall lead of 1m 57 seconds.
Honda teammates Mike Montgomery and Shane
Murland are bemused by their boss's pace. "It seems that every
time we turn up the wick and go a bit quicker he has this
amazing ability to go even quicker," said Montgomery.
Amongst the classics it's still Anthony
Ward in his Escort who heads the category with sixth place
overall. Closing in on him is veteran Richard Martin-Hurst
in his V8 Capri, second in the category and 9th overall. Aussie
Peter Cochrane in his Mustang has moved to 11th overall and
third in the classic category. Softy, softly is 'Cocko's strategy.
A sad retirement from the rally is American
Paul Shaver in his Honda whose engine was using oil faster
that Paul and his co-driver Geoff could pour into in. They
pointed themselves towards Adelaide to put their car onto
a ship home hoping to get themselves to Sydney for the Awards
dinner on Sunday.
Norwegian Vidar Christensen
in the only Peugeot 307 in the rally is climbing towards a
top ten position. more...
out daily reports:
June to 4th July 2004 day by day