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Budapest to Genova 2011

For those wondering about the blank blog for the last few days, it was due to our withdrawal from the 2011 Budapest Bamako rally.

The event was very thinly described in English – by the Hungarian organizers. The competition element was not explained in any detail. What we discovered as we were handed the race record sheets on Day 1 morning of the rally was a complete surprise. Effectively a long distance treasure hunt, the event results would never record good driving and good navigation unless those were in conjunction with amazing riddle solving and strategy involving much more electronics than we can operate with 2 people in the 205 Puddle Jumper.

So Alastair and I had a nice drive from London out to Budapest, thrashed around the mountains to the south of Modena in the dark – looking for “Ditta’s phone number” then abandoned the Day 1 challenges at midnight and Q14 of 18 when it became obviously fruitless. We arrived in a traffic free Genova at 0200 hrs.

Our decision to withdraw came after receiving the race sheets for Day’s 2, 3 and 4 at the 0630 hrs Day 2 briefing. The myriad of cryptic puzzles, the hundreds of way-points and alternate strategies were more than we could competitively resolve on our hand held GPS. The three and four person teams set to work with their laptops (plural), Google Maps and created their routes. Alastair and I had breakfast……

It became clear that a Minivan with sand tires, a BGan Satellite Internet connection and a three or four man team would have the best chance of remaining competitive. It would take a routine of sleep, navigate, strategize and drive, a two car team sharing data would make that slightly easier.

The veterans of the B2 Rally who have all this at their disposal will have a great event. It seemed like a great crowd and there were a lot of cars. We wish them all safe travels and hope that the whole group arrive in Bamako without incident.

Considering that our goal was to be competitive and show the amazing tenacity of the Peugeot 205 1300cc Rallye in the Africa, we had to reconcile the fact that this was not an option. Rather than downscale to the tourist class, we elected to withdraw. There will be other Rallies in other parts of the world and Alastair and I had time to discuss all sorts of interesting distractions.

So this one is closed for now, but if I can come up with a VW T5 TDi Synchro, some decent tires, 3 companions and a swag of electronics, I reckon B2 2012 would be a possibility.

In reality I hope that in January 2012 I will be competing in the 2012 London Capetown Rally.

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