Day 28 Saturday 9th July 2016 Kosice to Budapest

A moment of serendipity. Every now and then we get allocated a spare hotel room. Mine tonight (actually this morning as it’s 5.20 and I can’t sleep) should have been Mike Brewer’s from the TV show Wheeler Dealers. They were supposed to do the rally in a 1916 Cadillac but never made the start apparently due to insurance issues. Somebody suggested they would have been the least prepared crew for the event though. I was looking forward to discussing my Renault Alpine A310 with them as it was the subject of one of their shows.

Wish I could sleep when the opportunity is there. Both Jonathan and I are carrying some deep fatigue. We’ve been at it all day keeping pushing in the event, where we’ve been using all our abilities to keep the car safe yet push to make up time and places. Any down time is spent working on the car or repairing it. It seems particularly cruel not to be able to rest and recover when there is time.

Still we’ve made up a ton of time, moved up ten places (which is hard to do). Having finally overtaken the Alfa, there are two cars in front we might reasonably get past. There are a couple of cars which fell out of the top ten who will want to get past us now. So we can dream of the top ten place we aspired to when we left Heathrow. As I wrote that, the sun came out over the great view of the whole of Kosice I have from my hotel room.

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Fingers crossed we don’t do anything stupid today and the car continues to hold up…

Yesterday we were on the stop line of a complicated big roundabout in the centre of Kosice. Manuel in the Volvo he refers to as the taxi, had been driving all day with no clutch. He came flying past us on the pavement, crossed two lanes of traffic leaving the roundabout, went up a kerb onto the central reservation, overtook two cars in the central reservation on the cycle path alongside, crossed two tram tracks in front of a tram, dropped on to the through lanes of traffic coming from the right and disappeared left across the roundabout with the tail of his car out. All done at some speed leaving around sixteen privileged spectators wondering if they had just seen what they had seen. When congratulated later he affirmed “I had no clutch I had to do it”. Truly altered realities on this event.

Jonathan just bumped into Andy Inskip, who stripped and cleaned our starter motor last night. Jonathan: “Thanks for last night Andy, it’s started on the button three times now.” Andy: “Don’t fucking wear it out” A line I suspect he’s used before but raised a chuckle.

A long hot sweaty day but we completed four rough tests in one piece and are now in Budapest. A big shout out to Howard at Autosportif and Justin Holdsworth who have been managing support logistics for our entry. We got tyres in Novosibirsk, an alternator and bushes in Rzeszow, and now taken delivery of bush sleeves and disc pads in Budapest. Another alternator should be waiting for us in Slovenia. Huzzah

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This is Jan and his Holden Monaro. Jan and Anne, his wife are keen walkers and have been great to meet. Jan got hit by a local driver, it took four hours to sort out the accident with the local police.

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Coolest wheels in the event

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Signpost to Hell, just after we left the town of Mad. And this is what Hell looks like:
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Big crowds again and all along the route the villages turn out to cheer and clap us through.

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Nice walk around Buda or Pest tonight, not sure which side of the river we’re on at the Hotel Kempinski. Very pleasant hotel:
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Modern enough interior, with an airborne cactus field.
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