Rally of the Incas 2016

November 13 - December 9, 2016


NOVEMBER 22, 2016

Concepcion to Vina del Mar

Raising Dust

The Rally woke to find the weather a little cool and a little damp this morning. The Pacific has certainly made its presence felt over the last 24 hours. 

Overnight there was good news of a sort when we learned that the clutch issue which slowed the 1964 Jaguar of Andrea Hammelmann and Paul Henschel last night was found to be only a leaking slave cylinder which will be fairly easily repaired. The crew are planning to get it fixed in town and play catch up later in the day.

Andrew and Gina Long also suffered a clutch misfortune in their 1968 - MGC GT but this time it happened in the carpark. As they were leaving they lost a thrust bearing which means that there’ll be a little convoy coming up the road on the rest day. Paul Carter and Vincent Fairclough meanwhile worked till around 11.00 pm last night and managed to repair their leaking radiator getting back on the road with the rest of the pack bang on time this morning.

Although it was scheduled to be a long hot day on the road there was a cool little regularity to be tackled first through a series of Chilean vineyards, eucalyptus trees and rolling hills. As we’ve seen over the last few days though there was a lot of dust to contend with and although a polvo (dust) control lorry had been sent to dampen some of the fine powdery stuff, in an area such as this is it was about as much use as peeing on the fire of London.

The first time control in San Carlos gave the crews a chance to regroup and to fortify themselves for the long - and by now hot - drive to the night halt.

For the majority of the day we sat not he excellent Ruta 5 which is also called, perhaps more romantically, the Panamericana. This is Chile's longest road and is part of the larger Panamerican Highway, a network of roads measuring about 48,000 kilometres and stretches almost continually from Alaska down to Cape Horn. Although it passes through many climate zones, as we drove our relatively small section of the route there was a definite Mediterranean feel to the day. 

The agriculture and the climate obviously suited the miles of vineyards and acres of fruit trees stretching as far as the eye could see. There was so much fruit on display in fact that we half expected to see the man from Del Monte manning one of the time controls. Sadly we didn’t. Chile is actually the fifth largest exporter of wines in the world, and is the ninth largest producer and those amongst us with an oenophilic bent, and there are a few we’ve seen lately, certainly had plenty to look at and indeed to think about today. You could almost hear them licking their lips as we passed by towns such as Curicó which, according to the roadside adverts has both red and white wine varieties on offer but seems to be most widely known for its Chardonnay.

The lunchtime Time Control fell at the excellent San Fernando service area and from there it was a cross country jog to Vina del Mar and the night halt.

Sadly for Brian Shields and Colin Shields’ Buick, today might be the end of the road. Their timing chain broke and, the crew and car were brought into the hotel on the back of a truck. Tomorrow they’re going to see what can be done and we’re all hoping that they’ll manage to get things sorted.

Tonight we’re staying at the excellent Sheraton Hotel on the very shore line of the Pacific Ocean. Tomorrow's rest day could be quite a lively one as there are plenty of distractions to take the crews' fancy.

Syd Stelvio



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