Sun to Red Sea Rally
20th June 2002
Day 18 -
to Wadi Rum
FOR THE FAT LADY
A late start so you can relax and take
in the sights of this amazing city carved into huge walls of
Then a 15 km tarmac
hillclimb through an amazing rocky landscape (if you've got
time to look!) of huge jelly mould shapes of what was once
liquid volcanic sandstone and granite.
And then a sensational
section. A mind blowing scenic run through a breath-taking
canyon. Starts on tar goes to gravel and sand. A truly amazing
and challenging road before heading for Wadi Rum .
Wadi Rum is famous as
the desert home of Lawrence of Arabia where we spend the night
in a Bedouin tented encampment created specially for us with
all the traditional food and belly dancers. A real night to
Rum This report comes from the desert heartland made
legend by Lawrence of Arabia. The surviving competitors are
clustered in a traditional Bedouin encampment. There’s an
eerie silence about the everlasting sandscape. Where we are
is cradled by huge rock formations eroded by desert winds
which have carved them into strange shaped patterns of bulges
and ledges. Look hard and you can see faces of animals or
people in these edifices which stand thousands of feet high
throwing long shadows into the endless desert.
Dinner this evening is lamb baked in a 3 metre deep stone
well served in the Bedouin style with traditional music and
singing. A one of a kind experience. And this report comes
out of Lawrence’s hideaway courtesy of a satellite phone link.
The first stage today was the 8 km hill-climb out of the ancient
city of Petra. Thousands of spectators cheered the cars away
and it was Joe McAndrew who continued to set the pace while
the V8s of Richard Martin-Hurst and Keith Callinan tied for
second place just five seconds in arrears.
The battle between the Toyota of Graham Lorimer and Steve
Blunt’s Peugeot continued un-abated with Lorimer coming
out ahead to consolidate his over-all third place.
The 22 km Canyon stage was a stunning setting with distant
views and the sort of fresh air drops where those who went
over the edge would be wearing unfashionable clothes by the
time they reached the bottom.
Nik Berg’s little hybrid Toyota Prius did 11th best time for
it best showing of the event so far. “They’ll never believe
this back in Japan,” said Berg.
“This stage had everything – tarmac at the begining, the gravel,
then sand and more lumpy gravel. Not what they designed it
to do I’m sure, but it handled it really well.”
Tomorrow is the final day of the 20-day event and the survivors
will face another demanding 20 km mountain stage before they
descend to the shores of the Red Sea in Aqaba.
The final stage has been named “The Fat Lady.” Show biz legend
with the old American burlesque shows was “it ain’t over til
the fat lady sings.” So it will be on this marathon epic tomorrow. more...