The day began all too soon, only a couple of hours sleep between receiving the cars in the middle of the night and having to the cars checked by FIVA, adding all the electronics we brought with us, getting water, gas and other essentials and making sure everything worked. But here we are, car in hand (so to speak) and ready to do (that remains to be seen). I have no idea why the image is reversed – no it is not car 41 backwards – just car 14 who’s image has been improved by computer technology.
The first car is off and as it is in so many of these events, it is David and Karen Ayer in their 1907 Itala. They are truly great competitors driving a very old car and showing up everyone else. Good luck guys, you are really the best! That is Liz Wenman, one of the organizers and a great friend flagging them off. Have a great day Liz – she has to be last out and bringing up the rear.
Then comes old number 14 (or was it 41 backwards) – no fanfare, no loud exhausts – just slow and steady (hopefully) throughout the day.
It didn’t take long for the heat and strain to take it’s toll, on the competitors as well as all the other traffic sharing the roadway. This little breakdown occurred on an uphill section of the two lane road which caused all the traffic to merge into one lane and resulted in a major backup.
One thing leads to another and old cars stuck in traffic is never a good combination. After idling for a while trying to get past the first problem, there poor guys suffered a fuel problem and had to add to the situation. Not fun in 90 degree weather!
Unlike the previous two problems where no one was hurt (beyond their pride), these folks were not so lucky. Traffic could only proceed in one direction at a time so this caused major delays and we were lucky to avoid overheating. Unfortunately, there were some major injuries in this one and ambulances were on the scene when we passed.
We drove beside the sea for most of the day – it did nothing to ease the temperature and humidity. This area of Brazil is quite spectacular with mountains rising right out of the ocean. Roads were excellent and Lloyd had great fun driving the sweeping turns – I, on the other hand, has sort of dozing from a lack of sleep the previous night.
The good news is that we arrived on time having completed the first Regularity Test (you must drive the prescribed distance in an exact time at a calculated average speed) with only a two second penality – not bad for the first day. We are staying at a nice hotel which is right on the beach in Maresias aptly named “The Beach Hotel”. We also learned we won our class for the day which is a very good start – tomorrow there are no time tests so it will just be a nice 10 ½ hour drive over unfamiliar roads – what fun!!!