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Midnight Sun to Red Sea Rally

In round figures the total distance is 8,500 kms. There's a full day off in Istanbul, another in Petra in Jordan and a couple of half days and lots of time to linger and take in the sights and sounds of the ten countries you'll be driving through. Here's the day by day schedule as it happens. The full schedule is at TRANS WORLD EVENTS.

So Far...

Sunday, May 19, 2002

Competitors from six countries are heading for Ostersund in Sweden for the start of Midnight Sun to Red Sea rally which starts on June 1st.

The 8,000 kms route runs through 10 countries – racing over 600 kms of closed road special stages. Everything from smooth tarmac, traditional gravel and finishing with tough desert stages in Lawrence of Arabia country.

Every one of the 40 stages is timed to the second and the fastest man wins. The Americans call it “rally racing” and that’s what this event is all about. Racing over roads that have been closed to the public.

“We’ve had tremendous cooperation from police and governments in all 10 countries,” said Event Director Nick Brittan. And to comply with all the requirements we have over 1,500 marshals out there running the stages to FIA regulations and we’ve employed 41 doctors and the same number of ambulances to look after the safety of the competitors.” top


For the first time ever the FIA have given permission for modern showroom cars to race against the established specialised marathon Classics.

“We’ve levelled the playing field by restricting the Moderns to a limit of 2-litres with no 4wds or turbos. It’s going to be fascinating contest. I wouldn’t bet money on which will win – Classic or a Mod,” said Brittan.

Former Le Mans winner Ray Bellm is at the wheel of Porsche 911, Australian long distance expert Peter Cochrane will be charging hard in his raucous V8 Ford Mustang.

They will be working hard, looking for seconds per kilometre, to stay ahead of the lighter and more nimble Mods – the Honda Integra of Kiwi Champion Joe McAndrew and Zimbabwean gold miner Graham Lorimer in his fleet 6-speed Toyota Corolla Rsi.

Long haul veteran Peter Hall with three London-Sydney Marathons under his belt reckons, “It’s all about pacing yourself and your car, this event won’t be won in the first week that’s for sure.”

Another London-Sydney expert Nick Starkey has switched from Classic to modern for this event – he’s in a Vauxhall Astra. “It’s quick enough and the nice thing is there nothing in the car that’s 30 years old – except me and my co-driver. That’s the problem with Classics – the old bits break.” top


No it’s not Madonna. It’s London journalist Nik Berg in the Toyota-supported Prius. Part battery-powered part petrol-driven it’s the smallest car on the event. Most people see the Prius as a cute town car, Berg and his co-driver Tim Bampton are aiming to give the little car a new image.

“We’re not going to be up there with the hot shots,” said Berg. “But our advantage on the long, remote sections is that even if we run out of petrol we’ll keep going – on battery power !” top


Jo Cross, marketing whizz from Land Rover in her Discovery accompanied by three teams of female journalists is on a mission to raise money for Cancer Research UK.

Each of the journo teams does a week of the event and will be writing stories to send back to their newspapers and magazines - “a bit different to the usual stuff they write about,” said Jo, understating it a bit perhaps ! top


The Challenge category of the event is a Regularity contest – all about maintaining spirited set average speeds over sections rather than outright speed.

Bicycle importer Nick Thake from Essex heads the category. “I did the London-Sydney and it was the best car adventure I’ve had, I’m hooked.”

London property developer John De Stefano has a 6-litre Jeep Grand Cherokee and he’ll be out to get the better of Thake and Jim Carr in a Land Rover Discovery and Steve Sverdloff and his wife Josephine in their Mitsubishi Pajero. top


At the finish on the shores of the Red Sea at Aqaba in Jordan His Highness Prince Faisal, the Crown Prince of Jordan, will flag in the survivors of this demanding 21 day marathon. top

and so it starts...

June 3rd - Day 1

Great send-off from the locals!Ostersund to Sunne (Sweden)
The event start is in the main square of the town; expect an impressive send-off from the locals.

Normally there will be two regularity sections each day. The first day's are within an hour of the Start and will be for practice so that first timers can get the hang of what they are meant to be doing and our regulars can refresh their memories. The score on these won't be counted in the final results.

The rest of the day is yours with good fast motoring and time for a lunch stop. Scenic Sweden at its best, forests and lakes and a night stop at a smart lakeside hotel in Sunne.


'The mayor of Ostersund flagged off the 31 cars competing in this years’ Midnight Sun to Red Sea Rally. Cheering schoolkids exemplified the fantastic hospitality displayed by this town over the last few days, and they waved off the competitors who ventured into the lakes and forests of Northern Sweden.'  top

Day's total 583 kms

June 4th - Day 2

Simon and Gawaine chilling outSunne back to Sunne
A long half-day loop taking in three regularities and an opportunity to take in the wonderful scenic countryside. Then an afternoon stroll beside the lake or even a game of golf. A gentle but good fun day.


'The Honda Integra of 3 time New Zealand rally champ Joe McAndrew pulled further away from the field today, taking 3 outright stage wins in the second day of the Midnight Sun to Red Sea Rally.

Event organisers again capitalised on the fantastic cooperation of local rallying authorities, using stages plucked from the Swedish World Rally Championship events. Yet more gravel, even more forests and no let up in the competition over today’s 3 classic stages, which formed a loop outside the picturesque lakeside town of Sunne.' top

Day's total 160 kms

June 5th - Day 3

Sunne to Karlskrona (Sweden)
Today you do it for real. Out of the hotel and into the first Regularities within minutes. Through a forest on a military training ground.

From here it's more scenic motoring through this neat tidy country with lots of lakes and cute villages down to the port of Karlskrona. Time for a look around this interesting old town before taking the night ferry to Gdynia in Poland. A good ferryboat, small but comfortable cabins and with a decent restaurant and the opportunity for a bit of a party on board.


'Day 3 of the Midnight Sun to Red Sea Rally, and it was Richard Martin-Hurst in his V8 Capri that started ruffling the feathers of the top drivers, setting 2nd fastest time on 2 of the days stages.

With the rally completing its Swedish chapter today, the cars and drivers were on a ferry tonight, crossing the Baltic Sea bound for Poland. They left behind 3 of Sweden’s best special stages, with lots of crests and ‘yumps’ for those that dared to air.

Smokin’ Joe McAndrew was launching himself today, turning on its head the notion that Kiwi’s can’t fly. Completing what has become a familiar hat-trick, he set fastest times on all of today’s stages.' 

Day's total - 615 kms

*© Reports from TRANS WORLD EVENTS 2002. Check out the official website for more in depth news.*
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