Started off with a Class 3 stage of 73k called “Ltyentye Apurte” which finished at a tiny Indigenous Community town called Santa Teresa. We thought we were perhaps a little slow on this stage and we had a long stage ahead of us so this was a stop for a compulsory refuel. The next stage was only a Class 1 but almost 200k as we crossed into the western edge of the Simpson Desert. Lunch was defined as a ‘picnic in the bush’ but I have to say there wasn’t a bush to be seen! So it was a picnic in the desert with our pre-packed lunches and some water (but not too much as it was some distance to the nearest facilities!). What an amazingly vast and diverse country we live in!
The final stage for the day was a gruelling 144k Class 4 which was to end at our Mystery location. Given the average speed for this class is 60k, you expect it to be tough. Lots of sand and a lot of very deep bulldust which caused no end of trouble for some of the Kars. The Road Director had anticipated some trouble in this section, so recovery vehicles were stationed throughout to help pull out Kars that got caught. With a bit of attentive navigation and some seriously skilful driving, we breezed through. We attempted to rescue another Subaru that had become stuck, but after a few attempts with the snatch strap, it was clear it needed something much bigger than us to get it out of that bulldust! While we were attempting the rescue more Kars just drove straight in and stopped! Anyway, with recovery vehicles and some of the back-up Kars, everyone got pulled out and we headed to our mystery night at what we now knew was Mt Dare. Our fuel had hit reserve at this point, so At $2.49 a litre, it was an expensive refuel! We had a great night at the Mt Dare Hotel, most camped and some stayed in cabins and the next morning the hotel proprietors presented a cheque for $500 to the organisers for the Kidney Kids – this was met with a very loud round of applause!
We finished in equal 20th position at the end of the day with an even, 1 early, 19 early (even after our attempted rescue, we were still way too fast)!