The SOL Adventure
Rally was only an exercise compared to the real thing: the
Staatsolie Diesel Savannah Rally. A prestigious rally, internationally
famous with competitors from French-Guyana, Trinidad & Tobago, Aruba,
the Netherlands and the U.S. With a 100 cars meaning 200 participants, plus
an other 200(!) people from the organisation, it is the biggest
motorsports event in South-America. So it started with a flag parade.
The spectacular start
was on Friday evening and the first night we had to continue until late
Saturday afternoon, which means that Saturday evening everyone was
knock-out. After this the rally was only in daytime, so everybody was
fresh for the party with live music on Sunday evening. But altogether it
was a tough couple of days, and JW chose not to participate because he
hates boredom on the passenger's seat in the back. With the advantage
that Rita didn't have to stay home alone for 3 days.
when JW made this decision, JW's niece Lindy called and asked if she
could come along...
Good idea, not only because she is a good sport but also because she
more experience in car rallies.
Savannah Rally was really tough.
It was announced to be similar to a Camel Trophy and this was not
exaggerated. The first route took us all the way to Moengo, through many
and over some SARK-built bridges
through the forest to Blaka Watra, where one can swim in clear black
The next day, after a great breakfast,
we crossed the Suriname river on two custom
(by the way these also transported two Staatsolie gasoline trucks to Blaka Watra)
and the rally was continued in more open savannahs.
We got many difficult but funny assignments and we appeared to do well
as some cracks began to follow us. The chairman praised our special
Dutch technique: not driving like crazy through the shrubs, but step out
of the car and find the mark
on foot. Much quicker, but not very Surinamese as the guys here never
step out of their car.
The second night we camped at Overbridge by the Suriname river and we
blessed our old-fashioned cotton tent, conspicuous among all those small
band was great, the dancing went on all evening and the night was too short,
although next morning's start was
not extremely early.
During a tough ride through the forest
we got stuck in the mud together with many other cars and #1 had to
pull out #2 and so on.
Our starting number was #51 and as of #10 the problems started in that spot,
so in the end around 80 cars had to be helped out, with the aid of team
spirit and improvisatory talent. Pity there was no tv-camera around (the
rally was all 3 days on tv) but P recorded a small movie.
Movie Savannah Rally (6.34 Mb)
And talking about tv-coverage, we made a good show later that day when we
had to drive through some kind of lake. When we saw our predecessor going in
rather deep, P stepped out of the car and waded into the water, looking for
higher grounds. So the tv-reporters immediately rushed forward to cover live
on tv what that crazy Dutch woman was doing! The Dutch rally techniques are
going to be famous in Suriname, especially since we ended first in our class!