Road to Saigon 2018

4 February - 2 March 2018


FEBRUARY 6, 2018 

Kuantan to Cameron Highlands

Highland Fling

Today, we ate breakfast at sea level before taking to the roads once again and beginning the ascent to our beds at 1600m. The route, from mattress to mattress, took the crews through yet more dense jungle and palm plantations, past a landmark Hindu temple at Karangan Laju and then onto a smooth tarmac, 17km long, regularity section.

We also caught sight of the first rice paddy of our trip on the way to lunch which was at the Laman Persona resort. Another gravel test was scheduled for the afternoon session but, after reports from the local marshals, John Spiller - the Clerk of the Course reluctantly cancelled it, as a herd of cows seemed to be loose within the estate grounds. This well and truly took the pressure off the leaders and allowed the rally to kick back a little and to enjoy the run up the end of the day.

This is a famously well developed agricultural area and we climbed through packed terraces, miles of greenhouses, orchards, neatly trimmed tea gardens and dozens of derelict Land Rovers all ripe for a barn-find restoration.

As we climbed, the temperature began to fall and by the time we reached the final control of the day, which was fittingly in the Cameron Highlands Tea House, it was a bracing 24°c. Overlooking its very own garden, a traditional afternoon tea was served here - at around 4.00pm - naturally - and the crews were served pots of tea and plates of scones with cream and jam, cakes and pastries.

Once the crumbs bad been cleared and the cups had been drained, all that was left then was to head a little bit further up the hill, to the Copthorne Hotel which is where we’ve been billeted for the night.

There were naturally a few mechanical problems along the way today but, as usual, the sweeps were fixing them almost as quickly as the crews were breaking them.

Sherif Hwaidak and Sayed Zein El Din’s Porsche 911 shed a half shaft soon after the morning's regularity, but this was deftly slotted back into place by Andy Inskip and Tony Jones and allowed the crew to rejoin the rest of the rally for lunch.

Marc Buchanan’s and Ralf Weiss’s Ford Mustang broke its lower shock mounts late in the day but well before bedtime the big Ford was 'washered and welded' and will be back on the road tomorrow’.

The Classics leader, David Gainer repurposed some Toyota Hilux brake pads to save wear on the discs as he felt that the pads he’d brought with him were far too aggressive.

Graham and Marina Goodwin still lead the Vintageant category this evening with Manuel and Irene Dubs, in second. Andrew Webster and Ian Robertson meanwhile hold on to third.

Marco Halter and Claudia Englehardt are still at the top the Classics category with David Gainer and Kerry Finn in second. Gerry Crown and Matt Bryson hold third.

Finally, we’re pleased to welcome back Martin and Renate Hilti who’ve sourced new suspension parts and are now looking to getting stuck into things more fully.

Syd Stelvio



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