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Account: therally

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24 january 2019


Team 12 classified in 8th place in the club class after day 1.

Team no 12 . First at final time control at Hotel in Ljubljana

It sounds better then it is but it is a nice headline for our first day of the 10th Winter Trial. It has something to do with being start number 12 in a field of 108 ! starters. We are in Club class but normally the Trial class competitors get the low start numbers first.
So we started early this morning and as the Trial class had to do an extra ‘regularity’ at the end of the day we were heading for Ljubljana as first of the Club competitors. Can you still follow this...
Nevertheless we had a very pleasant and efficient  rally day today. We used yesterday to make sure everything worked on the car. We did a final test of the Trip Master, cleaned the car and took some rest in the afternoon. Anty checked the maps ( except one but more of that later) and we were ready to go.

Organiser Bart Rietbergen held a nice welcome dinner last night for the 110 + competitors at the hotel Scalaria in St Wolfgang, after which we had a fairly early night for a 6.30 wake up call ( 6.15 for Anty)

Start was in the town centre of St Wolfgang for us at 8.42. It was nice clear winter weather.

While waiting for the start  British competitor Frank Fennel ( start number 1) and many times winner of the event paid us a big compliment when he admired our red and white Mercedes.  ‘Its a lovely car and looks very well prepared’. He should know..
After the start we went straight to a pass called PostAlm  where we had the start of our first regularity.
On the way to the start Anty suddenly wondered where the map of this first regularity was. He had not found it in his paper work...
So with minutes to spare for our start ( its useful to know where you are going) father and son Koel showed Anty quickly where the map was hidden in his route book.
Fortunately the route was quite straight forward, down a mountain pass which in places was quite icy.
Remember we need to drive an average speed over this section and you have to balance the speed over the risk of sliding off the road.
The Benz is  on ice quite a handful but like on the Himalaya Trial she is very predictable .

After the regularity we drove a route to the Ski town of Altenmarkt where ( as last year) we did two laps on an ice race track.
It was  a first with the Benz on ice and she did very well.  No mistakes, we kept her on the track and set a decent time.
Then a long driving section to the lunch stop at a Chateaux ( Schloss) at Mautendorf. Beautiful location and scenery and we had at least an hour before we had to start again.
After lunch an other regularity with two different average speed sections. The second part was tricky as there was ice on the road in some places and it was clear in other places.
Again we think we did well.

Finally on to another circuit test on a Austrian driving training centre circuit.
The directions on the track were a bit more complicated so we took it easy but again I think we set a decent time.
After this test the Trial competitors took an other route and we headed towards Slovenia through a small mountain ridge.
We checked in the hotel at 17.00 as first of the rally....
This was good day and the Benz is a very comfortable car to drive.
However we expect the next few days to be a lot tougher.

The (wurst)worst is yet to come..

We are off to dinner.

Mick & Anty

25 january 2010

Good run for car no 12 on day 2 of the Winter Trial 2010

What a difference a day makes... I have said it before but it is true.
The first day of the Trial was relatively relaxed but day two was real Trial day. 5 yes, five ! regularities and 2 yes, two circuit tests. Its almost like the real Monte Carlo Rally..

The day started with light snow and a short trip out of Ljubljana to our first regularity of the day. Small mountain road with relatively little ice. As usual we took little risk and finished with few penalty seconds. Then on to our first circuit test at a driving centre in a town called Logatec. We were there last year and remember the track so despite the ice conditions we went round okay and in a way set the fastest time....but we forgot something... But of that later.

Then two more regularities before the lunch halt on small very icy (see pictures)roads in the mountains of Slovenia. The required average speeds over these sections varied between 48 and 43 km per hour. This does not sound a lot but if in the next few weeks you are in a winter sport resort and find a iced over mountain road with many hairpins try and go down hill at 45 km per hour.... Then imagine doing this in a 1970 Mercedes V8 without ESP, ABS etc.... Good fun but many competitors were struggling. Our Benz is great in the snow. Its a relatively heavy car but the high torque of the V8 works well in ice uphill conditions.

Down hill you need big xxxx. Its like trying to tackle the Bob Sleigh track of St Moritz in a car. Lunch was at a beautiful place called Jamski Dvorec in Postojna. However the pace of the rally today was so high that we had only half an hour for lunch. Then off again to the 4th regularity again on every icy mountain roads. Yes and then another regularity (no5). Uphill was snow and ice downhill was ice only.

Many competitors were caught out and got stuck in the ice banks. We met a local 4x4 coming round a bend with nowhere to go. I tried to slow the Benz and so did the driver of the 4x4. We stopped with a centimetre left.. Fortunately the 4x4 backed a little bit down the hill so that we could pass but it was close.
When we finally made it down the hill from the last regularity we headed back to Logatec for another lap of the circuit. While waiting for the start Anty discovered that during this lap we had to make two ‘a cheval‘ stops on the track. Both were marked with cones.It means when you see the cones you have to stop the car in between them with the front wheels in front of the cones and the rear wheels at the back of the cones. Well we realised we missed that instruction on the morning lap and carried on the lap without the required stops. It means were probably the fastest in the morning but will receive some penalty minutes that we do not want after such a good and safe day of rallying.. Shame.

We did not make the mistake in the afternoon and after a good test we drove to the hotel in Ljubljana to clock-out well in time of the time limit. So overall a good day of rallying but we will find out tonight at dinner how the others did. The Mercedes is a very good car for such intense and tiring days. Both for the navigator and the driver.Anty has good space to work and despite the size and weight of the car it really feels very safe on the snow and ice.

Slovenia is a revelation. A beautiful country that obviously prospers. The main roads (not the ones we use) are in very good condition. The towns and villages look well kept (unlike some other former east block countries) and they have the euro. The people are nice and all speak good English which they prefer to German. Really a country to consider for a holiday.

Yesterday we finished 8th in Club out of at least 65 competitors in this class. Today we don’t know but we made very few mistakes.

Tomorrow another tricky day so watch this space..

Good night,

Mick & Anty


26 january 2010

Twelfth place after another tough day in snow and ice for team no 12

After two nights in Ljubljana the rally left this morning for another challenging day in Slovenia en route to the overnight halt in the ski town of Maribor.

It was very cold with snow flurries and the roads were slippy and icy all the time.

Again rally route designer Mark Appleton gave us five regularities and one circuit test to deal with today.

The Trial competitors still have a night loop to do tonight.

This morning at breakfast we learned that yesterday we incurred more time penalties then we had expected. We found we got 13 minutes penalty at the last regularity of the day.

Something we still have not worked out why because we ran the route according to the instructions and although we were below the average speed it would never be 13 minutes. So we might have missed secret control. We are investigating.

Today all the regularities were difficult on very icy mountain tracks. I find the steep downhill sections very tricky as the large Benz is difficult to slow down before the corners. Its a bit like downhill skiing on cross country skies.

On the first regularity we had a big moment on one of these down hill tracks. We were going down the narrow track at approx 45 km when suddenly the back of the car started to overtakes the front . Anty was looking down the road form his right hand window.

Fortunately we managed to get the car under control again , but the driver of the Volvo Amazon that was following us said it looked spectacular.

The other regularities were all in the same sort of terrain. Sometimes dry and salty roads sometimes turning into narrow mountain trails with lots of ice and snow. Again we managed the whole day without the chains but sometimes it was close.

Not all competitors were so lucky as some left the road and ended in a snow bank where others would tow them out quite quickly.

A few teams had more damage to their cars and ego’s.

Nobody got hurt because the speeds are relatively slow and outside the major cities the roads are very quiet.

Like yesterday Anty did a great job navigation us through the many technical sections and I think very few mistakes were made.

Now we are in Maribor, World Cup ski city and the hotel were are staying in is called Habakuk and is positioned next to a flood lit ski slope.

We learned at dinner tonight that we ended the day in 12th place today which is about where we were expecting to be.

Tomorrow will be an early start and a long day 450 kms with (only) three regularities and one circuit test that the rally cross circuit in near Melk in Austria.

The finish tomorrow night will be in Krems – Austria.

Good night,

Mick & Anty

27 january 2010

The longest day of the 10th Winter Trial

A very short message from Team 12 after day 4 of the winter trial. We started the day in Maribor at 8 am. It was very cold minus 10-15 and very clear. Our route took us cross a snowy mountain pass into Austria where we stayed the whole day. Again many regularities in difficult terrain with very little time for the connecting routes. Very small snowed under mountain roads in generally glorious sunny conditions.

Two different circuit tests and we covered a total of 450 kms today. We clocked into the Steigenberger Hotel in Krems at 19.15 just before our allowed time limit. Despite the fact that today again we covered the whole route without many major mistakes we do not seem to be able to do it without many time penalties where others that we know skip whole sections of regularities and end up with half our time penalties.

Might have something to do with the new GPS logging system that we all carry in the car..

Anyway the Benz feels good and safe even on very icy roads. We used the snow chains for one entire 40 km regularity and even with them on it was tricky to keep the car on the road. Tomorrow one more tough day into the Czech republic. We hear that many roads are blocked because of the snow so watch this space.

Good night, 
Mick & Anty

PS. Some nice new pictures...

28 january 2010

See pictures

Day 5 Winter Trial

Adverse winter conditions made today’s route difficult to complete.

In the morning team 12 contested the two regularities and one circuit test but we decided after the lunch TC ( time control) to head to the night stop in Linz rather then continue the loop through the Czech republic.

The weather was so bad and the road conditions very dangerous that we decided to save the Benz and ourselves. Many competitors got stuck in the snow drifts or were involved in accidents. Nobody got hurt fortunately.

We are exhausted but save.

Tomorrow the final run back to St Wolfgang and the finish in what must be one of the toughest Winter Trials ever,

Until tomorrow,

Mick & Anty


29 january 2010

Team 12 makes the finish after the most gruelling Winter Trials ever.

The final day nearly ends in disaster when between regularity 1 & 2 of this last day a local VW VW Touareg decided to turn left just when we were passing this car.
We avoided collision but ended up on the other site of the road in a big snow bank. See pictures.

The VW Touareg pulled us out and we continued to TC. Not shaken but a bit stirred.

The final day was nice short day with a run on an ice track and a very pleasant finish in the village centre of St Wolfgang (see pictures)

Tonight prize giving and gala dinner for all survivors of the rally. There will be no top three prize for car no 12 but it was avery satisfying finish for car and crew.

More on the final day tomorrow.

Mick & Anty

30 january 2010
30 january 2009