The Himalayan Challenge

21 September - 11 October 2018


SEPTEMBER 27, 2018

Shimla - Rest Day One

Monkey business

The old saying goes that ‘there’s no rest for the wicked’, so today the competitors enjoyed a well earned day off. We're in an excellent hotel, in a lovely town with all the cafes, shops and amenities that anyone could wish for. 

Shimla's famous Mall and Ridge shopping areas were a popular destination which also offered superb views over the valley and surrounding hills with views of the snowy Himalayan peaks on the horizon. The sun was out, the sky was blue and we were all drying out nicely.

John Spiller and Guy Woodcock on the other hand were hard at work. They were driving through the hill country, scouting out an extra loop to keep us entertained tomorrow. Their report is eagerly anticipated.

Dick Appleton and Chris Mills were also busy and after taking on one last cheese omelette, they resumed their 48 hour advanced car duties and made for Mussoorie. Their report is also eagerly anticipated.

Shimla is a resort town, make no mistake about that, and as today was World Tourism Day there was definitely a holiday feel about town. The historic railway station was doing good business taking tourists on day trips further into the hills and bringing yet more of them up from Chandigarh and “the burning plains below”.

The sweeps were given the day off as well. They’ve had a tough few days, so a bit of high altitude downtime was prescribed by the rally medics. So the rally crews were left to their own devices down in the carpark but, as far as we could see, there was no major work going on.

Lars Rolner had a peculiar problem to deal with however. Whilst attending to his Bentley he took his eye off the tool bag for five minutes and when he returned it had gone. Swiped by one of the hundreds of monkeys which live in and around the hotel grounds. Despite Lars’ most enthusiastic attempts to coax it down, the offending primate sat in a tree overlooking the carpark and went through the contents looking for something to eat. As the bag only contained a battery charger though, the monkey lost interest and threw it to the ground - some 20 metres below.

As the day drew to a close and darkness fell, the bar of the Oberoi Cecil, filled once again and the speculation about the next instalment of this already epic rally began again.

Syd Stelvio



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