Rally of the Incas 2016

November 13 - December 9, 2016


NOVEMBER 21, 2016

Pucon to Concepcion

Under the Volcano

While some of us were tucking into a pretty decent breakfast, there were other less fortunate souls who began their day, not with a hot buttery croissant in hand but rather a cold greasy spanner and a bit of a problem to solve.

John Crighton was one such unfortunate. The universal joint on his little blue MG all but failed yesterday and he limped into the hotel hoping upon hope that it would last the distance. The ever ebullient Stephen Partridge thought that he might have had a spare one somewhere in the spares kit of his Morris Oxford but sadly this proved not to the case.

Another day of limping was the order of the day but by a stroke of luck, the concierge at the night halt in Concepcion found an auto dealer with just the right part. John performed a little jig before dinner and alone with wife Marion is looking forward to getting back down to business tomorrow.

Lars and Annette Rolner were also up early and, alongside Andy Inskip they were looking into the engine of their well travelled Bentley. They got a whiff of fuel and a leak was suspected. While Annette fired up one of her signature espresso’s, Andy and Lars set to in the carburettor department and had the problem sorted minutes before their departure time ticked over.

This was going to be another epic day, certainly as far as the scenery was concerned but there were also a couple of regularities to contend with as well. The first on the Ruta Interlagos ran along a heavily wooded unmade road with many bridges with more twists and turns than a Sherlock Holmes novel. It certainly was a challenging section leading to much excited chatter at the time control in the excellent Cafe la Terraza in Melipueco. Over coffee and meringues Graham and Marina Goodwin described it as “stonking” despite wrong slotting and having to execute a three (or maybe more) point turn to rejoin the route while Paul Carter simply said it was “an excellent section”. Keith and Norah Ashworth rolled in a few minutes later than they planned having had to stop to change a wheel along the way.

There was something rather special to come next along the road when we entered the Conguillio National Park, home to the volcano of the same name which last erupted in 2008 although thankfully today was a medium risk day according to the sign at the entrance. Along the road through the Park the crews saw some phenomenal views with black basalt, white snow and a blue sky filling their windscreens

Garry Boyce and Ken Williams were seen stopped by the side of the track with a loose underpan on their 1964  Mercedes Benz 220SE but a new bolt and ten minutes with a spanner had things sorted though and they were able to join the rest of the rally at the marvellous Lago Arcoiris with its hundreds of petrified tree stumps and crystal clear water.

Two Time Controls, in Yungay and Angol gave us a chance to cool down with a cold drink or an ice cream. The temperature had climbed to 36°c now but the wide, fast and empty tarmac roads didn’t give any problems as we sped though fruit groves and orchards to the final Regularity of the day. This was another belter. A sinuous, rolling, tree lined helter skelter of a road. What it lacked in distance it made up for in the precision required ….. and the amount of dust it kicked up.

The 90 km into Concepcion was yet more trouble free tarmac alongside the wide and slow flowing Rio Biobio towards the coast. As the night halt, and the Pacific, drew near we could taste the tang of the sea on the cooling breeze and, by the time the last crews pulled into the night halt the temperature had fallen to a relatively chilly 19°c.

Despite this, Paul Carter and Vincent Fairclough were looking a bit hot and bothered. The radiator of their trusty Bentley Derby had shaken itself to bits and they were desperate to get hold of some soldering equipment to plug the leak.

The super sweep team of Jamie Turner and Bob Harrod however were late in this evening having nursed Andrea Hammelmann and Paul Henschel’s 1964 - Jaguar MkII into the hotel. More news when we get it.

Once again dinner was a noisy affair as once again everyone had tales to tell. Tomorrow sees an early start. We've got a fair few miles to munch up the Pacific coastline.

Syd Stelvio



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