Pink Panther at the 'Show Start'

Day 1 of the Croatia Trophy. The moment everyone has been working towards for a long time. It has been a full year since the previous ‘F1-in-Mud’ and everyone is raring to go and get into the mud!

Before the action commences in the forests around Staro Selo all the competitors are lined up and follow a police escort to the town of Glina, which is about twenty minutes away.

This serves as a warm-up for the vehicles (although they should be ready by now!) and we park up in a long row in the town square.

It’s a way to parade your truck to each other as well as, more importantly, give the local population the chance to view them up close. This builds bridges and understanding and serves to impress on the community just how big the trophy has become. And introduces them to the guys and girls, who have come to this remote part of Croatia, from all over Europe.

From as far afield as Malta and Portugal, with many English, Dutch, Belgian, German teams etc…

I guess the main idea is to give the villages in the area a reference point, to put a face behind the voice if you will. Most of the action (except possibly the ‘Team Trophy’) takes place in the dense forests. So most of the locals who have not ventured to go out and spectate have heard loud V8s being revved to within an inch of their lives. And shouts and directions echo through the bush as stuck vehicles are extricated from yet another mud hole.

So most will have glimpsed a trophy truck passing by (probably lost) or seen the convoys as they pulled into camp for the first time. Now they have a better idea of who comes storming into town every year and the demand for beer goes through the roof…