Day 53

22. June 2000, Kamloops to Banff

In the morning we are greeted by a group of women supporting "Doctors Without Borders" who especially baked some cookies for us. So the morning begins pleasant, but we are soon faced with another test section. The road is muddy and very slippery but Sami manages to drive the circuit in a good time with three minutes. The Mustang finishes with two minutes, so he is getting one minute closer to our rank. Yves and Arlette from France are not so lucky. They have been going very well until now: With their experience having driven Paris-Dakar and their wonderful-going and strong Peugeot, they were in second place. Today, they slid out of an elevated curve, probably underestimating it. The car fell about two metres on the ground and stayed in vertical position. The passengers got no injuries and after they pulled the car up on the street again, it was still running. But they lost two hours missing the time checks, so the top-ranked cars, apart from number one, move up one rank. It is unfortunate to win a rank under those circumstances but a major aspect of rallying is how much risk one is prepared to take for his car. We have always had a low-risk strategy, trying to get no damage to our car and of course avoiding all risks to health. In a long-lasting rally like this, the strategy seems to pay off as we are currently third.
The shock of seeing Yves and Arlette go off probably distracts us a bit from the rally business. So in Falkland, we suddenly find that we took a bit of a too long break. Kaya did not watch the time closely (a mistake he won't do again so soon), so we end up rushing from Falkland to 3 Valley and we just make our minute with eight seconds to spare in 3 Valley. Eight seconds in 140 km! I think anyone can imagine how much more tense and stressful this section was for us than the one before. Especially with all the traffic, construction work, trucks and RVs, double lines and police everywhere.
Afterwards, we have a relaxing drive through the Rocky Mountains in the rain. Passing through many national parks, we almost run out of fuel at one point. Petrol stations have been rare in the Yukon, but recently they have been very frequent. On the road through the Rockies, they were again 100 kms apart. We then pass the Great Divide between rivers flowing to Atlantic and Pacific Ocean and enter the state of Alberta to finally arrive in Banff after a long, exciting day.

TC 182: Kamloops OUT
TC 183: Falkland Start
32 72.10 km
TC 183: Falkland Start (one minute countdown)
TC 184: Falkland Finish
52 (three minute penalty) 22.75 km
TC 185: 3 Valley Gap IN
52 140.47 km
TC 186: 3 Valley Gap OUT
TC 187: Banff IN

316.06 km

Overall 1 hour 19 minutes penalty

The official results can be looked up on this website

A rest before the Falkland Test

19 minutes of Falkland make the car more dirty than two and a half hours of Torugat pass in Kyrgyzstan. It is a good thing we had our wiper repaired yesterday in Kamloops, otherwise the navigator would have seen nothing.

When you are in a hurry, this is the last thing you want to see: Construction work. Even when it is just one truck standing on the lane, they regulate the traffic for half a kilometre. Letting only one direction pass, letting the other direction wait for several minutes. We had to stop four times from Falkland to 3 Valley, losing maybe 10-15 minutes.

Rain in the afternoon washes away the worst mud

Crossing the Rocky Mountains


Falkland: as if the rally officials had specially ordered it, the road was extremely wet, muddy and slippery. Gravel is not so bad after all.

In the town of Falkland we are welcomed by locals. They are so friendly that we forget about time and suddenly find ourselves in a rush.

3 Valley: Great relief that we made this normal section (no test) with eight seconds to spare.

Ed with his 240-horsepower Mustang, Justin looking out of the window (both from Ireland). They are only four minutes behind us now, so it won't take too long before they overtake us, if they continue running as well as they do now.