Well day 1 is done! Can’t say with my hand on my heart that it was a great day, but we did OK!
Started with a 38 km transport to get us to the start of the real stuff. And start with a vengeance we did. A class 4 (average speed 60km per hour) for 65km where the opening warning in the road book was a triple caution to look out for abundant wildlife! We made it through without hitting any and were a little faster than the average. We had to make a detour at the next transport stage as nature was calling loudly!
Then began a 68km class 3 where we could go a little faster (ave 70) which we breezed through but again a little too quickly. Then a very short transport to reach the most gruelling stage of the day, a class 5 (ave 50km/h) which was an unbelievably rough stage with lots of rocks, lots of slippery mud, humps, deep gutters and fallen trees which had been cut by the ‘day before car’ to enable us to squeeze through them. About 18km from the end of this section we lost our first tyre of the rally. Unfortunately the wheels had been secured using a rattle gun. If you don’t have one with you to unscrew the nuts, they are nigh on impossible to unscrew by hand! So onto our trusty radio to ask for help…no response. We continued to try to move the nuts but no luck. Unbeknownst to us, there had been a major collision way back in the stage where two cars had t-boned each other, so the entire group (bar the first few Kars including us) was held up for quite some time. We were wondering why no rally Kars were coming past…about half an hour later we finally got assistance from the Kar carrying the Teletubbies, who in full costume, managed to get the nuts off and change the wheel for us! It was a sight indeed!
As it turned out, because of the accident and another Kar rolling onto its roof, the whole stage was cancelled, so we were not disadvantaged at all. Most importantly, no-one was hurt.
We then drove down the narrow, windy road to Jenolan Caves House which was our lunch venue for the day. A bit of a detour coming out from lunch before we worked out we were heading in the wrong direction! We finally found our way through the Grand Arch and back up another narrow windy road to the start of the last section for the day – a 53km Class 4 – which alas once again we were a little too much quicker than the average…
Still, we arrived in Oberon which is where we stay tonight. Exhausted so heading to bed for some beauty sleep to be ready for a 7am briefing in the morning before we head off to Orange!