Road to Saigon 2018
4 February - 2 March 2018
FEBRUARY 20, 2018
Uttaradit to Khao Kho
Rebels and a causeway
Aided and abetted by the Clerk of the Course, John Spiller; Chupon, our Thai fixer and the Provincial Governor all the stops were pulled to lay on quite a party for today's AIA Raddit Warren test. As the cars arrived an alternative jazz band struck up a thumping good beat, gifts and garlands were handed out to each of the crews and every car drove through what could only be described as a beauty pageant of enthusiastic rally fans on their way to the start.
Once they’d negotiated this fun filled melee and had taken the countdown, a 5.4km section lay ahead of them threading through steaming paddy fields and terraced vegetable patches, along a sinuous gravel causeway with rustic shelters and workers toiling in knee deep water as their backdrop.
Jo Roberts almost found herself knee deep in the water as well; David and the TR briefly left the road and bumped through a, thankfully dry, paddy. So that the TR could rejoin the road, Jo sportingly vacated her seat and ran alongside the vehicle to lighten the load little. A couple of hundred metres and one personal best later, the situation was resolved and the crew progressed as though nothing had happened.
The first Time control Ban Rom Kall gave the rest of crews a chance to cool down, catch their breath, collect their thoughts and ready themselves for the change of pace that was the Regularity at the aptly named Laosy View which led us right to the border with Laos (the country) at Mujang Pheir along a steep, steamy and overgrown road.
The Time Control at Ban Dan Sai gave the rally a chance to eat lunch before the second and final Regularity at Rongkla Klaim some 69km further along the road. This multi hairpin climb led to the former and tactical home of the communist rebels in the 1970’s. The last Passage Control of the day was in the lush Phu Hin forest which was declared a National Park in 1984 and is famed for its wildlife, waterfalls and birdlife and at 1600m the temperature here was a very agreeable 21°c.
From here, we pressed on to our night halt, the Imperial Phukaew Hill Resort which is a Swiss-style retreat set in 200 acres, high up the mountainside where an international menu was featured for dinner. Thai duck terrine, a selection of classic Asian dishes and French onion soup washed down with the coldest of beers.
Away from the buffet tables though and down in the carpark, the sweeps were burning a little midnight oil, refitting a head gasket to Heather Worth’s Volvo. It was as tense few hours but Jaimie Turner is confident that Xena, the Warrior Princess, will be back to battle fitness in the morning.
As far as the results go, Graham and Marina Goodwin still hold onto top spot in the Vintageant category, Andrew Webster and Ian Robertson are still second and David and Karen Ayre in third.
The Classics category also remains unchanged, Marco Halter and Claudia Englehardt are still leading with Gerry Crown and Matt Bryson in second with David Gainer and Kerry Finn in third.