Following In Mcrae's wheeltracks

1y ago

22K

- As well as doing a video, David Shepherd and Dave Smith took some fantastic photos that were simply too good not to share. The link with Colin McRae is that he drove a Nissan pick-up when he did the Dakar in 2004 and 2005
- I realise this looks like we choreographed some camels, but honestly we didn't. I'm not even sure you can choreograph a camel. Recalcitrant beasts
- Dawn out in the desert is almost as extraordinary as dusk, but the sun rises so quickly that you don't have long to get shots like this
- I believe the collective noun for a group of camels is a caravan. Which seems a little unfair on camels. I think they can move quite quickly
- The Navara was completely standard, but in order to help tackle the dunes we reduced the pressure in the tyres down to about 1 bar
- Having a bit of a play in a sandy river bed and getting used to the feel of the car on sand
- A smidgen of oversteer. You had to be quite careful when you weren't in the really deep sand as cornering too hard could peel the under-inflated tyres off the rims
- No signposts out here
- The Navara getting stuck in. Low ratio was used for the big dunes but the key is to use momentum. If the car starts to slow too much and sink you need to be aggressive with the throttle (at which point this hopefully happens, or you stop)
- Bizarrely, just when you thought you were in the middle of nowhere, a million miles from civilisation, people would appear. Goodness only knows where they came form
- The vastness of it all really is quite overwhelming and this is just a small set of dunes really. The green bits are Camel Grass and you need to avoid them
- This was quite daunting and really did feel as steep and intimidating as it looks. However, half an hour later I was sliding the Navara sideways down this same slope. Amazing how your perceptions change
- I hadn't actually stopped in terror at this point, even though it looks like I have
- It's a big car to jump, but it flew surprisingly well
- The balletic Hippos in 'Fantasia' spring (pardon the pun) to mind
- More fun shapes in the sand
- You can read all about this chap in a separate post in Wheel Life tribe
- Once out of the dunes the speed picked up and the dust increased. The high midday sun made it very difficult to read the 'road' as there weren't any shadows
- Due to recent rain (yes, really) this was as close to the legendary fesh fesh as we got. Fesh fesh is a terrifying surface that looks solid but has the consistency of soft mud. Hit it at speed and you can be in all sorts of trouble
- Heading across a dry lake bed
- No need to dust for prints
- Motorbikes seemed to be the most common form of transport out here
- As soon as we stopped the children ran from the nearby village.
- The packet of biscuits (Prince biscuits since you ask) that I'd bought at a petrol station at the beginning of the day were distributed
- And then this hove into view. We heard it from a long way off and saw the quickly moving dust trail even earlier
- This is Peugeot's new 3008 DKR in its all-black testing livery. Loeb and Elena were inside the next day (I know because I discovered that the whole team was in a hotel about a quarter of a mile from ours!)
- It certainly wasn't hanging around. It's a two-wheel drive buggy with about 450mm of suspension travel. The crew can adjust the tyre pressures from inside the cockpit
- It's interesting that north Africa is still used for testing despite the race having moved to South America. It is, I suppose simply much more convenient
- Goats. They climb the Argan trees, but it's irritatingly hard to spot them doing it
- I remembered from a previous trip to Morocco that the lack of light pollution made the night sky a wonder to behold, so we stayed out late. We'd collected the firewood through the day and the heat was rather welcome
- You probably won't get a much better view of the Milky Way. We did of course then have a quite a long drive through the desert in the dark to get back to tarmac. Which was exciting in itself

Retracing an African Dakar stage ten years after the race last visited the continent

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Comments (23)
  • Quite foolish to lead public to think this car is capable in overland travels. Also, next time do not give food with sugar contents to poor children as they don't have access to toothpaste so their teeth rots! Fruits will do.

    1 year ago
  • I was am an American that was a huge Colin McRae fan. I used his first name for my son when he was born in 2002.

    1 year ago

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