Road to Saigon 2018
4 February - 2 March 2018
FEBRUARY 03, 2018 - Singapore
The breakfast buffet this morning revealed that, in many cases the internal body clocks and local time zones, which the crews have to deal with, are yet to converge. Bleary eyes looked at the sumptuous Asian breakfast buffet with suspicion as the associated stomach was expecting something more of an evening meal.
But, there was still work to be done and thankfully, with the cars already safely ensconced in the car park, today was one characterised by what could be described as light duties.
Eleonora Piccolo and Gill Cotton led the charge on the paperwork front in the pop up Rally Office, along with Dr Geoff Watson who was tasked with dispensing all things medical and Pete Stone, who was offering GPS guidance. All who arrived left with armfuls of rally bags and associated paraphernalia, and soon we saw clusters of fully equipped crews sat around with their map book and the two road books for company.
Down in the sweltering underground car park meanwhile, Andy Inskip, Jamie Turner, Bob Harrod and Tony Jones checked the cars for compliance and safety and, no doubt, were making mental notes of who they’d be seeing more of over the next four weeks. Today, few issues were reported - thankfully.
Most of this pre rally action was therefore over by midday, which left plenty of time for some exploration and sightseeing. A popular area for the crews to visit was the China Town district on the main island, which was, given that it’s the middle of the Chinese New Year celebrations, as much of an assault on the senses as you could possibly imagine.
The heady scents of fruit such as durian; the sharp tang of dried, salted and seasoned fish and meat and, the sickly sweet notes of hot confectionary fought with each other for supremacy with none of them actually managing to totally overcome the others but the battle was indeed intense.
Later, back at the hotel there was the competitors briefing to enjoy followed by the welcome dinner where the rest of the rally sang a hearty happy birthday to the evergreen Alan Beardshaw, who celebrated a ‘significant’ birthday today and we wish him many happy returns.
Rally Director Fred Gallagher and Clerk of the Course John Spiller formally welcomed the crews and also gave few hints and tips to anyone who might need them.
Paul Heal and Dick Appleton left us today to begin their lonely odyssey as the often unsung, but always invaluable 24 hour car. However we gained Lucas Davicino, our Argentinian tango meister and hotel supremo who now knows more than a thing or two about jet lag.
Tomorrow, the flag will drop and, at 9.01am the first car, the Itala, will nose its way northwards. By tomorrow night, we’ll have a leader and more stories to tell.