When we pass people in Barcelona go crazy January 01, 2005 -- People wave to the motorbikes and cars, but when we pass they go crazy, certainly when we use our lights and horns. Almost all competitors were dying to start with the long trip to...
When we pass people in Barcelona go crazy
January 01, 2005 -- People wave to the motorbikes and cars, but when we pass they go crazy, certainly when we use our lights and horns.
Almost all competitors were dying to start with the long trip to the South of Spain towards Africa. Almost all, as the 53-years old French Denis Comte had to push out his bike after all his personal belongings were stolen from his assistance vehicle. At the sun-drenched Plaça de Espanya all competitors were introduced to a mass of people and, of course, they also said goodbye to family and friends. The motorbikes started first at 09.00 a.m. with the mammoth trip of 920 kilometres to Granada. Obviously the KTM-drivers Isidre Esteve, Marc Coma and later on Nani Roma, last year's winner of the motorbike category and now driving a Mitsubishi, received a stormy ovation from the Catalonian population.
On the way the competitors had to pass a checkpoint near Castellon, after 380 kilometres. The Organization also arranged a mean over there.
Also the assistance trucks from the Team Gauloises de Rooy left at 09.00 a.m. "They can be in Granada at about 10.00 p.m. We have to do the distance within 13 hours. When we arrive around midnight, we have a few hours left to work on the vehicles before they will go into the Parc Fermé where repairs are not allowed," tells Jan de Rooy on New Year's Eve while having a delicious festive meal, probably the last one for the next weeks. The mood was cosy but certainly not elated. Especially the young drivers Gerard de Rooy and Hugo Duisters were already engaged with the rally and could hardly wait for the real work. Team captain Jan de Rooy kept himself cool. He enjoyed the evening together with his Team, family and some friends just like he did earlier that evening when he was at the Gauloises reception at the World Trade Centre, where all Gauloises Teams were present.
At 01.00 p.m. sharp, 12 hours after the Team whished each other a happy and healthy New Year, the trucks were allowed to start with the liaison. The public is wild when Jan and Gerard leave the podium and also along the crowded streets of Barcelona the trucks are greeted stormy. "People wave to the motorbikes and cars but when we pass they go crazy, certainly when we use our lights and horns," laughs Gerard de Rooy out of his cabin with number 516. "Today is only tough because of the length, it's the longest stage. Not really difficult but that's a reason to stay concentrated. This stage doesn't count for the league."
At 02.30 p.m. most of the motorbikes arrived at the checkpoint near Castellon. At that moment they had done 380 kilometres.
Three hours later still 6 motorbikes, 23 cars and 5 trucks had to report at the checkpoint near Castellon. At that time, Jan and Gerard de Rooy were already near Alicante.
Arno Slaats, Gerard de Rooy's mechanic, reported out of the cabin: "If we move on like this, we will arrive in Granada at about 10.00 p.m."
As the trucks left Barcelona at 01.00 p.m., this arrival means that they will still have enough time left to service the vehicles.
Tomorrow they'll have a 10 kilometre long Special, followed by the sea crossing to Africa and a liaison of 557 kilometres to Rabat.
To be continued . . . . .