Where to Next?
Well, we did it. Was it tough? Beyond measure. Are we proud? 100%. Would we do it again? You bet your life!
80 cars started the 13th Winter Trial Classic Car Rally battling through rain, sleet, wind, ice and snow driving some 1,900kms (1,800 miles). 38 of them were in the Club Class, including us. (The Trial Class is for die-hard nutters who seem to thrive on push-it-to-the-limit-stress and sleep depravation) One car retired. We came 30th! We are beyond over-joyed.
Our aims were: 1: to not get lost. Let me think a minute.... Nope, don't think we were ever actually LOST. I might not have known where we were on the route/map at all times but lost we were not and we only asked 'a local' once if we were headed in the right direction using pigeon-Czech-speak. 2: Best Dressed Team. Dear Reader, I tried honestly I did but it just became less and less of a priority as the days flashed by. I did co-ordinate as much as possible but dressing-up at night after 10-12 hrs on the road? No chance, and I only managed a candlelit bath once! Lipgloss was applied (by both of us at times...even when it was pink and sparkly!) mainly to prevent frostbite, and whoever invented the UGG boot should be knighted; I didn't have cold feet once.
In terms of preparation I think we did ok. Lots of yummies to munch on, flasks, hot water bottles, torch, tow rope, snow chains etc. We passed the scrutineering, which was our first box ticked. I am glad we were advised by experienced rally individuals, both before and during, not to bother with timings; I don't think we could have survived that mentally intact! But I do want to learn how and when to use our two stop watches (!!!)..that would certainly help us jump up the ratings. And I wish we could have taken more photos but there simply wasn't time. There are lots on www.thewintertrial.nl - the marshals view has some of the best!
We were lucky. We only came unstuck, well stuck actually, once on the Test Track. Others weren't so fortunate and we saw many a car slip into a ditch. Our pals in their Jag ended up stranded across a ditch when they hit a piece of ice; they were pulled out by a local farmer in his tractor!
There have been laughs galore. Stories of experts getting hopelessly lost in the forests of the Czech Republic, life-long friends not speaking apart from barking instructions, people face down in the snow pushing stuck cars and, yes, man-tears! My dear friend, Judith, had one of the best. In a mad dash at a Time Check she rushed to the Ladies. As time was of the essence, and 'someone' was taking an age, she banged on the door shouting, "Hurry Up"! Out came a red-faced man... As if that wasn't shock enough, as she flushed the cistern promptly fell on the floor. It wasn't her day!
But the TRUE STAR was the Car
Bianca...what a girl!
Is it possible to be emotional about a car? Well, those of you who know me won't be surprised. It's a weird one but there you have it. Now I think I understand why chaps get so attached to their motors.
So, Bianca is now basking in her glory. She's been washed and polished, and had her snow tyres removed by Steve at HiQ Tyres....
...and has been sitting outside today in the sunshine all sparkling and showing off her Winter Trial window sticker.
I'm sure it was beyond frustrating at times for her, being so experienced, but she never faltered, coughed or spluttered. Our White Goddess did us proud.
We truly didn't realise how hard it would be. How much energy, both physical and mental, it would take. But now we are living in a bubble of excitement. In our dreams, we hurtle around bends on snow covered tracks all night long and wake up feeling sort of bereft it's all over. Judith (one of pals in the Mark II Jag) and I have to chat every day as 'other people' simply don't understand; their eyes glazing over pretty fast as I prattle on and on and on.
As Elliott driving the 1935 Bentley Derby said, "After three months none of my pals wanted to know me any more because I had become a Rally bore. So I had to do another one just to have other bores to talk to!" Dear Reader...you heard it here first!
P.S. Team Fisher covered 2,800kms/1,700 miles in 7 days.