Thursday 9 April 2015

Tuareg Rally 2015: T Day -1

After a comfy night in the hotel, we arose to check the bike over in daylight, unload it from the trailer and get ready for registration and scrutineering. 

This involved an awful lot of queuing in the very hot sun! It did seem a bit strange to do this just outside the nice cool hotel lounge which would have been much preferable. The basic check of our documents got us our road books for the week, stickers and race numbers for the bike and really important stuff, like meal vouchers for the hotels!

After this had to go and sticker up the bike with mandatory sponsors stickers and race numbers before bringing it back into the blazing sun for scrutineering. This consisted of checking our safety kit (first aid kit, flares, lighter, space blanket and 4 litres of water capacity). The checking of the bike was rudimentary to say the least, a quick bounce of the bike and check of the brakes and it was done!
Then they demanded that we had Moroccan SIM cards for our phones and were really surprised when I showed them I already had the ability to roam on all Moroccan networks? Ironically the two networks they insisted we had the ability to use had no signal at the hotel but when I was asked to call the organisers phone to prove I had the ability, I just used a different network. I was not convinced of the "safety aspects" of this process.

Lastly came the check of the SPOT Tracker device. Most competitors had chosen to hire one for the duration yet it still seemed a laborious task to check the (organisation's own) trackers! I confused them further when I produced John's tracker that I was borrowing as this was an older model and they claimed it did not have the necessary functionality. We were able to demonstrate that once paired with my phone via Bluetooth it had all the functionality required.

We were informed that spot checks would be held each day on safety equipment but apart from a check the next day to see that our SPOT trackers were working before we started Special Stage 1, this was the last I heard of these,

The checks all being complete, we retired to the restaurant for a leisurely lunch beside the pool. Hard work this rallying you know!


That evening we sat through what seemed like hours of the first race briefing, which was most probably because it did take hours! After this we finally got dinner and then decided it was time for bed. Annoyingly the organisation decided to run on "Rally Time" which was of course Central European Time, very convenient for the German organisation but downright confusing for those of us on Greenwich Mean Time, which of course included the whole of Morocco! This meant that the six o'clock alarm the next morning was actually 05.00 for us!

Radu had decided that sleeping in the back of his converted ambulance, was getting a bit too cramped so retreated to the floor of the room John and I were sharing! The built in sofa provided a handy mattress for him. In previous years the organisers had provided tents for those competitors who did not opt for hotel accommodation, however these were conspicuous by their absence... they had just forgotten to let anyone know about the change of plan! Tents were promised at Merzouga but that was still two days away.

I'm sure you can imagine what the snoring might be like with three blokes sharing a hotel room but luckily John and I had come prepared with plentiful supplies of ear plugs! Radu just said that having a 9 month old had made him immune and promptly demonstrated by going straight off to sleep!

Ready for tomorrow's early start and Race Day!

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