The 2nd Trans-America Challenge 2015

7th - 28th June 2015

Day 5 - Quebec City to Old Forge

Break for the Border

We bid farewell to Quebec this morning and drove out along the Chemin de Roy through the city walls and along the St Lawrence River. We were heading to the Border with the USA and, along well surfaced flat and straight roads three sets of crossed arrows had been set up by the 24 hour advanced car marking out the three calibration zones for any tripmeter fine tuning that crews felt was required.

The fun and games in store for the crews today was the Special Test at the Sanair Super Speedway motorsports complex complete with a banked oval and drag strip. The Rally had organised a two lap sprint around the bowl with a wicked slalom in the middle thrown in for good measure. It was about driving fast and listening to your navigator. Navigating the marker cones and changes of direction meant that this test was really a team effort. Tyres squealed and fought to free themselves from their rims as drivers tried to stay as tight as possible to the cones without hitting them. Some managed this a little better than others.

Top of the tree for this section were Clint and Dawn Smith by a convincing three seconds in the primrose E-Type.

There were some who sadly had a few problems today. Albrecht and Christine Haase had a problem with the brakes on their Jaguar which was quickly rectified by the sweep crew at the track while Gavin and Diana Henderson broke a half shaft on their Porsche which was impossible to repair by the side of the road. A quick call was put into Porsche supremo Francis Tuthill in the UK who recommended that they call a low loader to take the car to a dealer in Montreal where he was to ask for Emile. When we have more news we'll let you know.

David and Jo Roberts in the Triumph TR250 meanwhile suffered with electrical problems all day. Firstly on the way to the Super Speedway and another two times after leaving it. Plugs, leads and fuel pumps were all checked, inspected and where necessary were changed with help from Richard Martin and Travis Cole now travelling in a rental car who stopped to help. Their Alvis blew a gasket way back on day one of the Rally and it has proved impossible to find a spare.

So to the border then where we enjoyed a swift passage through the small and usually quiet Rouses Point US Border Post. The procession of Rally cars had made quite an impression on the staff on duty at the border especially the last car through, the big Malaysian Rolls Royce Phantom of Hok Kiang Sia and Eric Kuan Rong Sia and, Alastair Caldwell's Silver Cloud.

Once safely into the land of the free and the home of the brave we enjoyed a lovely fast drive through the Alder Brook Mountains and the Adirondack Park en-route to the Waters Edge Inn at Old Forge.

There was some excitement on the way though in the form of an unexpected road closure as the U.S. Authorities hunted two fugitives who are on the run after a dramatic prison break. Towns in the region are under lockdown and there are hundreds of State Troopers manning roadblocks and conducting vehicle searches while Fox News, CNN and a host of others news media teams looked on. We all kept our eyes peeled - obviously - but saw nothing.

By way of a change tonight we enjoyed a fireman's BBQ at the Old Forge fire station which was indeed a memorable meal. Chicken beans and potatoes were washed down with free beer and wine as crews mingled with the locals who were eager to hear about the cars and the adventures they'd been on.

The leaderboard then remains the same then but the gaps are closing. Phil and Kieron are still in first place but have lost those three precious seconds to Clint and Dawn.

Syd Stelvio



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