Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Molly Porsche off on another Rally. HERO rally of Iceland 2015

Our 356A Porsche, Molly, got fed up rallying around hot countries like South Africa, South America, Asia and Mongolia. So in April 2015 we are competing in the Historic Endurance Rally Organisation Saga of Iceland rally.
Our blog should be up and running from 17th April. The address is Molly Porsche
Hope you enjoy it.
Porsche 356A in South America

Monday, 9 December 2013

Some stats on our Endurance Rally Association trip.

Longest driving day 12 hours 
Shortest driving day 4 hours
Longest distance day 683 km
Shortest driving day. 270 km
Average moving speed for us  71 kph
Total distance driven 6119 km
Highest point 10469 feet
Lowest - 128 feet
Petrol used 613 Litres giving 10 km per ltr or in English 28 mpg. Not bad at all.
Oil used just under 1 litre
Spare parts used 1 pair of points, 1 condenser, 1 rotor arm.
Known repairs to be carried out - broken speedo.
Furthest distance from London 8349 miles
Population density of London per square  mile is 12,331 
Population density of Patagonia per per square mile 4
Highest temperature on the rally 39.5c
Lowest temperature on the rally -2c
Wind speed recorded at El Calafate airport 130 kph
Ushuaia is on latitude  54.80 degrees south.
Newcastle is on latitude 54.90 degrees north, the same distance from the equator but two different worlds.
4 cars were unable to finish but the crews made it enjoying the luxury of rental cars
31 cars finished the journey.
The oldest car 1927  Oldsmobile 30E
The youngest 1974 Mercedes 450 sl
Smallest car Porsche 356A  - 1600cc
Largest car Mustang - 4735 cc
Circuits raced 6 some twice.
Wildlife spotted  
Sheep 2,367,739. Goats lost count. Guanaco at least 83 . Pig 1
Armadillo 2  (Looked both ways and still alive). Patagonia Hare 2 (and several not so
smart at crossing the road).  Condors lots !  Snake 1. Dolphin 1.   Albastross 12.
Tired rally crews 35
Best hotel - joint 1st Hotel Explora Torres del Paine and Llao Llao Hotel Bariloche 
Worst hotel  - difficult they all tried very hard to look after us but reckon Esquel takes
the prize.
Most spectacular sight has to be the Perito Moreno Glacier, close 2nd volcanoes and
lava fields.
Most frightening experience crossing the Magellan Strait. See video
Best experience - Cape Horn Challenge 2013
2973 viewings of this blog :) Hope you enjoyed it. Where next? Well Molly has always wanted to see a real giraffe, so we guess we will have to take her to South Africa in May 2014 
Thank you very much for all your support and kind words of encouragement over the past month, we had a ball.
David Julie and Molly.
porsche 356 A

Friday, 6 December 2013

Random photos of Molly Porsche on the ERA South America rally

Sorry these photos are not in any order but the Internet connection is giving me a little grief :)
Hopefully they will give you a flavour of what we have been up to.
Porsche 356A
 Molly has her Christmas decorations on for the rest of the trip, just looking for a long extension lead for the flashing Christmas lights :) hint the decorations are on the roof rack :)

A wind swept Julie, the lake behind is feed from the glacier and does not support any life.

The car park at T

And it's good night from us !

The last few days.
Eons ago we were driving down from Buenos Aires in 40 degrees across desert like terrain.
As we enter the final leg of our epic journey we are hit by snow storms and ferocious winds, the like of which we have never experienced before. We are one of the lucky ones, we are in a hard top car, it must have been incredibly difficult to drive one of the vintage open top cars in those conditions. They all made it to the final check point. Thanks must go to the snow plough drivers who kept the road open.

The last day of the rally began at the Rio Grande race track as the day before. This time the 
organisers had included a very twisty bit of track. Just to add a bit more fun it was
snowing and blowing a gale.

Porsche 356A

By now we have moved up to start position 10 from 32. Very pleased with that but now we are starting with the big boys in their amazing Chevrolets and Bentleys.  We get counted down and we are off on 3 timed laps. The track is very slippery, Julie is calling out the bend directions for me and we set about trying not to disgrace ourselves amongst the bigger cars and experienced racing drivers.
After a lap we realise we are going pretty well in fact we are catching one of the Chevys, we pass him on one of the long bends, next lap we are catching another Chevy, we enter the hairpin section, 3 very sharp hairpin bends one after the other. We really don't want to get stuck behind the Chevy, try a dive down the inside of the first bend, decide he is bigger than us. Very short straight to next hairpin, he pulls over to take the correct line and Molly has

other ideas, dives down the inside. Scaring the life out the Chevy driver ( he had not seen us due to no mirrors) and scaring the life out of me and Julie. Molly knows what she can do and passes him. We have got arms legs and feet working overtime to stay on the grey stuff.
We finish our session with huge smiles on our faces and clock the 6th fastest time of the day.
Job done.
From there we go to a gravel road race section, this is the shortest section of the rally it is 4 Kms in 2 minutes, those of you with a mathematical mind will know that this means an AVERAGE speed of 140 kph over gravel.
Molly is still on a high from the race track and really goes for the last test of the rally. I have 
no idea how fast we went but I do know we missed the penalty cut by 1 second. Molly is a truly amazing little car, if the driver had been wearing heavier shoes or Julie had less luggage we would have made the required time. 
The rest of the drive was on gravel interspersed with heavy mud from the snow. A Paul Simon songs comes to mind ' slip sliding away' , fantastic.
Going back another day two days and our last post we check into a hotel called Hotel of Dreams in a 'quaint' town of Punta Arenas ( Sandy Point in English). We were given a very nice room in fact a suite. Only problem it was right next to the lift and above the air conditioning for the pool and looked out over the building site. We were lucky our Argentinian guide Alex was happy to swap rooms with us. Great up on the 10th floor, nice views and lovely and quiet. Until 10.30 when the Sky Bar on the 11th floor kicked off, the wind got up and the windows sounded like they were  held in by low grade blue tack.  Those of you who have traveled with Julie and I will no doubt find this set of circumstances familiar and hilariously funny.
Another quote springs to mind ' to sleep per chance to dream etc' no way Jose. We are thinking of suing the hotel for misrepresentation.
At the evening meal we were delighted to be awarded our second medal of the rally, this was based on 3 laps of a very bumpy circuit mentioned before. We did not think we had done that well but the organisers knew different. Couple more medals and we will equal Sir Chris Hoy.
From the so called Hotel of Dreams we take the early morning ferry across the Magellan Strait. This is a particularly choppy stretch of water and probably the bit of the rally which worries me the most.

Off we go onto a rather fragile looking ferry. It's just big enough to hold all our cars.
Sea is quite calm, what was I worrying about. Ah yes,  I remember as the images of the sunami warnings by the roads side flash before my eyes. The sea can get a little rough and just to prove the point we get chucked around for the next few hours or days. 
The old sea legs kick in and we survive the crossing breakfast intact, which is more than can be said for some of the other poor souls.

The roads and scenery on this rally are on a different scale to anything we have ever experienced. It's quite difficult to take any meaningful photos. The landscape is so vast our cameras just don't do it justice. The farms here are measures in 10,000 hectares + some have signs showing the drive to the farm house to be 12 Km plus. All the land appears to be fenced, boy would that have been a contract to win. 
Most of the houses we pass look like they are made of timber frame with corrugated iron roofs. They don't look very substantial but they must be to stand up the harsh weather conditions. 

Having all arrived through the said snow storm of the last day we all get ready for the grand finishing dinner.
There is a hat competition duly won by Pippa in a rather fetching funnel and flags ensemble and various other unofficial but very funny awards.
The big award of the night goes to Chuck and Pam Lyford in their amazing Fangio Chevrolet. They are the overall winners and team Bardel from the USA win the team prize. 
However the real winners were all the competitors who took part in this amazing epic journey.
Thank you ERA team, to those of you back in the UK and those on the rally with us. Great bunch of professionals. ( that's what they told me to say)
Thank you Gantspeed for preparing Molly and all the advice. We think Molly was one of the few cars not to suffer any mechanical problems on the whole trip. We did have to alter the timing due to rubbish petrol but that was it. Fantastic little car.
Most of all I would like to thank the navigator who has now taken Molly and I through South East Asia and South America with no wrong turns. Thank you my darling wife X
That's about all for this post, we will do another with a few facts and figures which we hope you find interesting.
David, Julie and Molly.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

We have done it !!!!!!!!!

A very quick post to say we have arrived at the end of the world.
We have just driven through very heavy snow and hurricane force winds, but we have made it. Looks like a lot of other crews have made it to. Well done one and all.
Off to the bar for a VERY LARGE BEER.
Full details of two race track visits, gravel tests and amazing country side and weather to follow.
Cheers for a while
Molly and her mates David and Julie
PS we have finished 10th overall, 4th in our class, and with a final flourish we were 6 fastest around the track this morning. Not bad for the smallest car in the entire field and two oldens ;)
Might make that two beers:)

Monday, 2 December 2013

Fin del Mundo

Nearly at the worlds end. Fin del Mundo.
Yesterday was a rest day at hotel Explora Salta Chico. Without doubt one of the best hotels we have stayed at, mainly due to the breathtaking scenery in every direction. Having lunch beside a waterfall watching Condors is pretty special.

Nothing much to say about a rest day except we needed it. I think most people were quite sad to leave this lovely spot. This has got to be one of the best views out of a hotel bedroom.
But back on the road we must go.
The weather so far on this trip had been very good, for most of the days we had clear blue 
skies. Today was a little different, we set off in a very cold wind and grey drizzly clouds, after about 10 minutes this turned snow and a biting cold wind. We were cold in Molly so it must have been awful for the open top crews.  We had about 50 km of gravel and then 200 odd of lovely Tarmac roads. We stopped at Cafe El Patagon.

Highly recommended for its soup, unfortunately we watched the last bowl pass by eyes,with stomaches rumbling we drive onto another race circuit.

3 timed laps, great fun especially trying to avoid the pot holes. Think Bernie needs to have a word with them before its GP standard. We await the times, I don't think it was one of our better efforts but we will see. There is not a lot of tread left on Molly's tyres :)
We are staying at The Hotel of Dreams Punta Arenas, Chile.  Not quite the same as the last hotel but not bad, and the Internet works.
Everyone seems to be a little sad as our great adventure is drawing to a close. I expect a couple of glasses of wine later tonight will help :)
Tomorrow we have to catch the 6.30am ferry (think its still dark then) and cross the Magellan Strait to arrive in Tierra de Fuego and on to The End Of The World.

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Only 24 hours in one day :)

How much can you pack into a normal day ? Take up endurance rallying and find out just how much is possible.
For example yesterday alarm goes at 5.30 ( strangely not Julie's although she's positive she set it !!!)
Load the car, eat some sort of breakfast, check out. Drive out of town, arrive at the first time trial and by 7.15 you are on the start line of a cinder race track about to have the time of your life. The object is one flying lap, fast as you can. Just for fun the organisers have chucked in a few chicanes. We love it Molly comes an amazing 9th. Which we are over the moon with.
Now nearly 8.00! Off we go for about 100 Km to another flat out time trial. This time over some very rough ground, we have to cross an old river bed. We don't like this one much, Molly is too low. We come in 2 minutes late. Still not bad. Now its about 9.00. Another 70 km drive on mixed roads to the Chilean border. After all our worries about the Chilean border staff being on strike/go slow we sail through, thanks to the skill of the organisers.
We now drive to the hotel Explora Salto Chico in Torres del Paine. This is along a dirt road only about 25 km but takes as we have just entered a National Park which without doubt offers some of the most stunning scenery anywhere in the world. Every corner we turn is another Wow and photo stop.
We arrive at the hotel, still only midday!
This has got to be one of the best hotels we have ever stayed in. I wish the photos would load but the Internet is rubbish. I am writing this looking out of the room window, across a clear blue glacier lake, majestic mountains all around and a huge Condor circling over the rocks by the waterfall. 
Quick bite to eat and at 3 o'clock we are off on a 'short' hike. We should have realised it was not that short or easy when we were given a survival lecture and accompanied by 3 highly qualified guides. We walk up for about 1.5 hours to the top of a rock called Condor Point. The wind up here is so strong that its nearly impossible to walk. It is possible to hold your coat out like a wing and lean at 45 degrees into the wind. Looks really cool. Not quite so cool when the wind slows and you fall base over apex into the sharp thorned bushes.
Back down the hill, back to the hotel. Cup of tea. Attend a lecture about the area and all the hikes we can go on tomorrow. It's now 7.00. Drink in the bar. Dinner time. 
Julie and I are new to this rally world, but we thought we had got the hang of it.
During dinner we observe a rallying tradition we were unaware of. It seems that you have to drink a glass of wine or 2 and then the gentlemen on the table have to swop clothes!! Shirts and trousers!! Luckily no one had gone commando and even more luckily I can't load the pictures.
It's now about 9.30, time for Andy and the Headgaskets to entertain us (that's what Andy says) 
Julie and I retire hurt at about 10.30.
It's now 8 in the morning and I think the music has stopped.
So that's a fairly typical endurance rally day. I feel another quote coming on about rallying
'come'n have a go if you think your tough enough'
It's just bloody amazing ( ok Mum I know 'no need to swear David' )

All the crews are still together and apart from the early car failures all the cars are making it and having a ball.
Someone pointed out there are only 3 more days driving, where did all that time go.