Road to Saigon 2018

4 February - 2 March 2018


FEBRUARY 15, 2018

Nakhon Sawan to Mae Sot

By the Book

Straight out of the traps this morning the crews were given another chance to drive the Agrimaize test which they enjoyed so much yesterday evening.

Today, the Clerk of the Course, John Spiller had made a few changes though. He ran it in reverse and aptly renamed it Eziamirga. Getting to it was also a bit of a challenge and this set the tone for much of the rest of the day where there would be more twists and turns than the Brexit negotiations.

We were taken well and truly off the beaten path today and the navigators were kept fully engaged with their route books and tripmeters throughout. Given the way some of the cars arrived at this test though, well out of their starting order, it seems that there may have been a level of disengagement early on. No matter, there were plenty of kilometres left with which they could get back on terms.

Following the Test, the first Time Control was at the ‘Garden Centre’ some 80km away and here we found David Ayre looking for help sourcing a workshop with a lathe so he could turn himself a new steering kingpin, having broken one of his earlier in the day. Armed with a few addresses and phone numbers he headed straight from the control to Mae Sot and, when the rest of the crews arrived at the night halt they found the Itala up on its axle stands looking a little forlorn. David meanwhile, was busy downtown in a machine shop and, just before darkness fell he returned and, along with Andy Inskip had the newly fashioned part installed.

For the rest of the rally, they had an excellent route to enjoy, 151km of rural Thailand which led them to the lunch halt, once again hosted by Bistro 315 in the Old City Park at Sukothai, the ‘Rising of Happiness’, the ancient Thai capital.

Messrs Wild and Watson provided hard boiled eggs, crudités and savoury croissants to a hot and hungry rally, washed down with iced fruit juice or chilled water; has there ever been a finer al fresco diner?

As well as enjoying the food though, some crews needed a pit stop and between mouthfuls of lunch Jaime Turner, Tony Jones et al, took a look at a sticky clutch cable belonging to David and Susan Danglard’s Porsche, and also reseated the sump guard on Filip Engelen’s Alfa which had taken a big hit somewhere in the bush.

Steve and Ruth Lambert had left the lunch in fine spirits aboard their yellow BMW, but soon afterwards their suspension collapsed which left them feeling a little bit flat. Bob Harrod and the rest of his sweep crew soon had them up and running though, and they made the night halt along with everyone else.

On the way to Mae Sot, the terrain changed dramatically. From the gravel and broken tarmac of the morning we enjoyed a swooping roller coaster of a wide new road through the big and busy town of Tak sat on the Ping River where we hit a new high of 40°c. From here, a modern three lane highway climbed to the Huai Ya U checkpoint and topped out at 838m alongside the old Doi Muso Market which looked very out of place given its new surroundings.

The night halt is the Centara Mae Sot Hill Resort where the results have been thoroughly examined and discussed over a fiery ‘Northern Style’ pork curry and a slightly milder chicken one, with ginger, which we presumed to be Southern style.

Graham and Marina Goodwin are still at the top of the Vintageants with Andrew Webster and Ian Robertson in second place and Manuel and Irene Dubs in third.

There has been yet another slight change to the Classics leaderboard. Marco Halter and Claudia Englehardt still lead with Gerry Crown and Matt Bryson in second while David Gainer and Kerry Finn slip a place to fourth behind David and Susan Danglard who take over third.

Syd Stelvio



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