Day 11

11. May 2000, Samsun to Trabzon

Samsun and Trabzon are not that far away when driving along the coast. But the rally organization had planned another test section for us today. The morning drive along the Black Sea coast is slightly frustrating as there is a lot of traffic and a "Jandarma" police van decides to do us good by escorting us. So for about two hours of the route we have to follow in a queue of classic cars behind the police car which won't let us overtake but at the same time drive at very moderate speeds so that other Turks decide to overtake us and the police. When at last some of the classic sports cars decide to overtake anyway, the Jandarma reconsiders its policy and soon after lets all of us off.
To get to our test section we have to drive into the country up the valley created by the river Dogankent. The route is especially nice as we see the typical beautiful Black Sea region green forests and wild azaleas.
The test section itself is not so nice at all. It is probably slightly better than the night test section we had in Greece but the timing is very tough: the best of cars take 4 minutes penalty. As most of the section is uphill and we drive again carefully, we take nine minutes. The drive back down to Trabzon is easy but we still have to watch our time as there has been a mistake in our route book about distances.

TC 47: Samsun OUT
TC 48: Dogankent
51 347.35 km
TC 49: Zigani Gecidi
13 (9 minute penalty) 16.60 km
TC 50: Trabzon IN
13 32.65 km

Overall 37 minutes penalty

The official results can be looked up on this website

Trabzon is a surprisingly busy and modern city and the hotel we stay at is well-equipped and very well run. I am now realizing that tomorrow will be the end of the "known" world for me: Many of the participants already felt like that leaving Greece (or maybe leaving Dover) but Turkey always feels like home to me. To improve my navigator timing I bought a digital display watch today. We start talking to the watchmaker and he buys us tea. The whole city seems to already know about "iki-bin rally" (The 2000 Rally) and the watchsellers are very interested in our story. Sami also meets up with the national Turkish news channel NTV and they interview us as we are the only "Turkish" team on the rally. Sami also helps them interview other participants as the TV people do not know much English.

Driving along the Black Sea

most of the villages in this valley seem to be growing (lots of construction: brick houses)

Many tunnels have been built for this street.

Water is led above the street

Time check Dogankent before the Zigani Pass

Zigani, through the forest

Zigani: sometimes one wishes the other cars were faster, dust in the air

Snow on top of the mountains next to Zigani pass

the drive down to Trabzon is on good roads


And up the river valley of Dogankent

The river finds it way through the valley. There are many small bridges serving solitary houses or farming land on the other side.

Snow on the Black Sea Mountains

Farming on the hills

Waiting for Zigani

Zigani: Steep slope, narrow curves, bad road, rocks on the ground

On the Zigani pass: From zero to 2010 metres in a few hours

Running fo the timecheck: Today, we got a stamp at 9 minutes, 55 seconds which means nine minutes penalty. Five seconds later we would have got ten minutes.

Trabzon is a typical modern Turkish city.