Road to Saigon 2018

4 February - 2 March 2018


FEBRUARY 7, 2018 

Cameron Highlands to George Town

All Downhill

Thanks to the altitude, a cool and misty dawn greeted the Road to Saigon this morning and there was an early start because of the packed schedule which was planned. So, bleary eyed and slightly chilled the crews corkscrewed their way down the hill past dozens of watercress sheds, strawberry farms and cut flower plantations.

The first stop of the day was a passage control in the heat of the valley at Batu Karang whereas the first action of the day came at the Dato Sagor Circuit where the crews were given another two laps to either upset the leaderboard or just to have a thoroughly good thrash.

This is the first track we’ve seen Martin and Renate Hilti at since they sorted the springs on their silver Mercedes and, from what we saw the car was handling very well and looked to be stiffer than a viagra testing centre. With a performance improvement like that it's was no wonder that the crew were grinning from ear to ear.

Matt Bryson, the apprentice, took the controls of the P76 whilst Gerry Crown, the time served master, sat alongside doubtless imparting wise words and advice in a cool and rational manner.

Some of the other navigators sat out the test completely, with the excuse that they’d only be unnecessary weight on such a well defined track but the ones who braved the circuit were all well pleased that they did.

There was a long pull to lunch after this where soon afterwards the second running of the ‘Tour de France’ hill climb test was enacted.

First used in 2015, this 8km closed road ramp took the rally on a thrilling high speed twisting trajectory through a dense jungle and, we must thank once again the Malaysian Traffic Police for their assistance.

Adrian Hodgson and his Peugeot 504 Ti were spotted stopped by the side of the road soon after the test finish though with the sweeps in attendance. The word is that he and Mark are being towed back to the night halt where an assessment will be made tomorrow.

The rest of the rally meanwhile was motoring onwards, to the Eastern and Oriental Hotel in George Town. Set on the island of Penang and reached via the 24km long Penang Second Bridge – the longest in South East Asia.

Tomorrow is the first rest day of the rally and what better place to spend it in The Pearl of Penang.

After such a testing day there has been a reshuffling at the top of the Classics category although the Vintageants remain as they were. Graham and Marin Goodwin still lead therefore with Manuel and Irene Dubs in second. Andrew Webster and Ian Robertson hold on to third. Marco Halter and Claudia Englehardt are still at the top the Classics category but Gerry Crown and Matt Bryson are now second with David Gainer and Kerry Finn in third.

Syd Stelvio



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