The start is from eleven pm. Being in the last place due to a non-start in the Team Trophy, we are last to start at about 00h30. It starts to rain as we head into the darkness and try to follow some tracks.
Around the next corner, we find a traffic jam of vehicles trying to get through a creek that has been turned into soft mud by the cars that had left before. We come across teams that had left an hour before us, heading the other way…
Finding your way in the dark
We use our bridge and cut through into a wide marshland. There are tracks everywhere, heading into all directions. We make our own alongside and look for a marker. Other cars are crisscrossing the marsh.
Everyone is lost. Chaos all round…
We backtrack and try to pick up a trail while comparing notes with others. We decide to head left and get to a checkpoint….
But it is the finish line…. So they send us back into the darkness to start all over again…. We cannot find any markers, nor checkpoints and the darkness is interrupted by headlights of fellow competitors coming at us from all directions…. Crazy, and surreal… Rob recognises certain landmarks in the dark – which is more than I can manage from the pace notes!
It is a strange night. All I remember is a boggy swamp that we were all trying really hard to cross without any waypoints or indications of where to go. When we return to the camp I am not sure whether we had achieved our goal or not. All I remember is mud, mud and with all that rain, even more mud!
We didn’t manage to get any footage this time, due to the mechanical issues ahead of the start, but this video from Croatia Trophy 2011 will give you an idea.