Pink Panther battered and broken but still made it to the finish

51 km! Much more than most of us expect. ‘Pink Panther’ is running with no front or rear diff lockers (after the adventures on Hamburger Hill), but we decide to start anyway. Shortly after the start signal, we catch up to Tjarko and Sybolt (team 32) who started 2 minutes before us and decide to drive the stage together. A good thing!

At the halfway point, one of the roller blocks (mouth of the winch) breaks and cuts the steel cable, leaving us with nothing – the top winch is pretty much useless. This means that we’re now competing with a basic “standard” Land Rover. No winches front or back and only the diff in the middle.

Rob drove really well through the marshlands, especially considering our car’s handicap. There were a lot of long gravel road stretches and tracks through the forest. At the top of the hill, we took in the most exquisite view, albeit at 60 km/hr. The valleys seemed endless. The navigation went very well.

A dramatic river crossing awaited everyone to finish a fantastic competition. We needed ladders and winching using a ground anchor. Tjarko and Sybolt hooked their rear winch onto us and we crossed the finish line together.

All in all, we managed to drag our brave little car into 28th position overall. Without these mechanical problems, we probably would have got a much better result .. but the Croatia Trophy is all about starting on time and finishing each stage.

A couple of group photos were made, along with a beer, while we waited for Peter and Paul, and Paul and Mark to reach the finish. Somewhat stunned by an incredible week that was exhausting and passed by way too quickly.

Back to the camp to finish packing-up the camp and check into the hotel for the final evening, a hot shower extremely welcome.

The after-party and award ceremony was accompanied by one of the largest fires we’ve seen. Good camaraderie, awesome adventures and great memories. Email addresses were exchanged as eagerly as tales of the Croatia Trophy 2010. We’ll be back next year!