The Trans-America Challenge 2012

7th May - 8th June 2012


V.I.R. to Knoxville

MAY 10TH, 2012

With the first car due to leave for their track test at 7.01 am it was another early start but the Virginia International Raceway looked a hundred times better this morning than it did last night. 

The simple application of some sunshine and blue sky transformed the venue from the damp and dull circuit of yesterday to a much more inviting prospect all round. As we made our way to breakfast and the temperature rose with the sun the impeccable grassy run offs, the trees surrounding the perimeter and the track itself began to shed their misty veils.

With such a backdrop to play against the Rally couldn't be anything else than in good spirits and soon the air was filled with the barking and growling of 30 or more cars eager for their turn on the curves and straights they'd first experienced last night.

With a reseed now in place the Rally was led away by Phil Garratt and Kieron Brown in the E Type which scythed its way through any lingering mist. Ear to ear grins were the most common feature at this finish control. David and Jo' Roberts gushed that it was a beautiful track and were pleased that they only dropped two seconds but Roy Stephenson and Peter Robinson along with the aforementioned E Type both cleaned the regularity.

Once the 'play time' on the track was over though it was back to the more serious business of getting across America and we started out towards the night halt at Knoxville on the banks of the Tennessee River. 

The route once again offered us an embarrassment of scenery as we plied our way along the Blue Ridge Parkway lined as it is with trees, 'chocolate box' houses and the odd tortoise which was saved from certain death by your very own correspondent.

As we crossed and then re-crossed the State lines of North Carolina and Tennessee the temperature climbed and a definite dry feeling took over. 

Claudia and Sonja Schaeffer in the no. 1 Bentley removed the hood of the car and covered up instead with factor fifteen. They still managed to arrive at the MTC however with slightly pink faces.

Alastair Caldwell and his mother survived three unusual brushes with the law, their Rolls Royce proves to be an easy target for curious policemen looking for.... photographs.

More good news comes with the return of Terry Ward and Geoff Nicholls who made it to the VIR night halt with a repaired clutch and managed to get themselves out onto the track this morning for their share of the fun.

There have been some minor issues along the way though and these include a defective fuel pump for the Steinhauser / Collard MkII Jag' which managed to repair itself just as the sweeps arrived. A mysterious knocking from the rear afflicted the Halter / Englehardt Chevrolet Camaro which turned out to be a loose anti roll bar. Ever resourceful they had a new mount fabricated en route. Jose and Maria de Sousa needed to reattach their steering column this morning before their track session.

Tonight in the Knoxville Marriott the buzz around the bar is not inconsiderable.


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