Update on the truck / car recovery that the Team Saluki guys have been assisting on. Both vehicles are now out of the desert successfully - it seems that having the correct jack that's required to change the wheel on your truck helps a lot when you're stuck. We've seen the truck on the road near the bivouac so we know the guys are not telling fibs.
The camera crews that have been following Team Saluki have been completing some in-desert editing of the footage they've been shooting. Who would happen to visit but our friend from the prologue - Elvis.
This morning, as it is every year, we pack everything up early and return to Dubai with the hope to catch up with the race cars on their way back cross country to the finish line. With our Honda support vehicles fully packed with equipment and video-camera guys (not including Elvis) we start a four car convoy from Liwa to Dubai via the start of SS6 where we just make it to see the first of the cars leave the start line.
It's there that we receive the bad news that the second of the Bowlers has had to retire from the race with Richard, the driver, injuring his back and awaiting the arrival of the medical team to check him out.
For us, it's back into the cars again and make our way on an even tighter schedule to beat the cars to the flying finish. We make it, but some of us almost didn't, a couple of the vehicles were about 18Km short of running out of fuel not having had time to stop to fill up with fuel en-route. Not something you want to do in the desert.
Upon arrival at the finish we see a cracking duel between one of the large Kamaz trucks who's blasting down the finish straight and one of our adopted race teams Team Icon. It seems the red mist had come down on Driver Glen and he wasn't going to be beaten to the finish by a truck - foot to the floor he got past the Kamaz and made a dramatic finish to the end.
Team Bowler, now one car down made it successfully to the end of the race but their problems weren't over there. Richard and his co-driver Alex who had earlier retired from the race and been checked out by the medical staff were making their way to the ceremonial finish at the Dubai Marina when they got pulled over by the UAE police. They were arrested not far from the Marina for driving a rally car on the road and were taken to the local police station for processing. Not that quite a few other rally cars had probably passed that police officer that day had no bearing on the matter - perhaps he just wanted a closer look at the Nemesis. A couple of phone calls later and they were both released from the police station and arrived at the Marina with a police escort. They do know how to make an entrance.
The final results are in and Team Bowler - Drew Bowler and Simon Mumby crossed the finish line in 16th place.
Whilst Team Icon - Glen Reid and Hayden Walker finished in 13th place - with 4 hours and 11 minutes separating the three places between the teams.
So folks, that's it for another year. The Team as a whole are frustrated that we were taken out of the challenge so early in the race but we've picked ourselves up, assisted other teams, provided guidance on sponsors products, and adopted two fellow teams for this years challenge. If anything it's reconfirmed how demanding the challenge is. The car may be dead for the time being but at least all our team members made it through unscathed.
In the next couple of days we'll get Mark to summarise his ponderings on this years Desert Challenge and we'll get a final update out to you.
As Elvis would say - "Thankyouverymuch".
Regards Team Saluki