finish of team 12 at te Copacabana
Welcome to CNNTY.NL and our next classic rally adventure..
When on November 24, 2008 Mick and Anty finished the six week long gruelling Himalaya Trial in beautiful Thimpu- Bhutan they swore ‘Never again’
It was an adventure of a lifetime and we drove a route through Iran, Pakistan and India that since then would have been impossible to drive. (See History for full report) but it was tough with often impossible, impassable roads and very long driving days. However one year later and two Winter Trials further Anty and Mick were on speaking terms again. This was about the time that Classic Events organiser Bart Rietbergen announced his new adventure in S-America.
The Carrera Copacabana 2010.
14.500 km through Argentina, Chilli, Peru, Bolivia and Brazil. The route will leads us into the Andes Mountains sometimes as high as 5000 meters! We thought long and hard. Do we want to do this again? Can our trusted ‘Lady in Red’ endure another rally like this? Would we have time to be away from family, friends and work for so long? Can we afford it? The answer to all these questions was a resounding no!
So… we entered Team No 12 for this rally, simply because life is too short to wait for the perfect moment as so many people do. This is it!
However this is not a decision that we can take alone. We have spouses that have to agree with this. That is where we are very lucky with Grace and Sonja who are allowing us one more time to go away for almost 5 weeks to head for the beaches and strings of Rio. Or maybe life without us for 6 weeks in 2008 was actually quite nice for Grace and Sonja ….who knows.
On Sunday 17 October we will depart from Schiphol Airport and fly via Madrid to Buenos Aires. The start will be in BA on the 21st of October and the finish will be in Rio around the 22nd of November. Like with the Himalaya Trial we will try and provide a daily rally report on this site and whenever possible add some pictures. In addition there will be a short video news release on this site every 4-5 days into the rally. The route of the Carrera Copacabana is very different from what we experienced during the Himalaya Trial. We expect the average speed to be much higher as the roads are more even and hopefully have fewer potholes. However some days we have to cover long distances on gravel roads at fairly high average speeds so again this rally will be tough for the men and their machine. Getting to the finish is more important then winning on the day. Unlike the Himalaya Trial where we started the rally in Maastricht, Holland, the Carrera Copacabana now starts Buenos Aires, Argentina. This meant that our trusted Mercedes Benz was already put into a ship container on September 8. We expect her to arrive in Buenos Aires on October 14. We have decided to arrive in BA a few days before the official start of the rally, not only to have some time to prepare the car but also to have a bit more time to enjoy the city of Buenos Aires, which is supposed to be great.
After the experience of the Himalaya Trial the preparations for this rally seemed a bit easier. Our trusted Mercedes 280 SE Coupe V8 underwent some surgery since it arrived back from Calcutta. We now have a manual gearbox with a longer final drive, An extra fuel tank on top of the rear axle. The two tanks combined now have about 130 litres, which will give us a range of about 600 km. The navigation workstation was tidied up a bit so that Anty has even better space to work. We stripped the airco system out of the car and extended the roll cage to the front passenger compartment. This adds to the safety for the crew and rigidity to the coupe chassis. Overall we saved a lot of weight. Altogether we estimate that the car is now 100 kg lighter. We also learned a lot about ‘packing light’ and we now have only clothes and toiletries for 8 days and not for 30… as we had for the Himalaya Trial. There is a rest day almost every 6 days in the rally where we can get our clothes washed so there is no need to take a 30-day wardrobe. Rover textiles in Naarden have prepared our team kit, with long and short sleeve shirts, T-Shirts and a fleece lined jacket.
Over the past year and a half the organisers have held three information days for the competitors. They have given us information on the route, the heath & food conditions, sight seeing tours and hotels. 33 competitors entered the Carrera Copacabana of which at least 10 equipes competed in the 2008 Himalaya Trial. However unlike Himalaya Trial there are now quite few ‘foreign’ entries from the UK, Germany, Luxembourg, and Switzerland etc.
The Himalaya winners Ellen and Willem Vermeulen are there too to try and repeat their win of 2 years ago in their immaculately prepared MK 2 Jaguar. We will try and reverse the result… watch out Ellen & Willem. The Trial and Club classes are together this time so the competition will be fierce. Mercedes Benz Netherlands is helping us again with Mercedes Benz contacts in the countries we travel through. S America is quite a Mercedes populated continent so we expect to be okay when we need service or hit trouble. There are 5 more Mercedes in the rally so there is help around. And then there is Geert Jansen, Mercedes Classic specialist and ‘father’ of our Red Lady. As with the Himalaya Trial he’s on stand by day and night from his base in Ulft (NL) to help us fix any problems. He knows the car by hart (he build it) and has provided us with a picture album with pictures of all the relevant parts of the car. When there is a problem we call him in Holland and he guides us through the pictures and tells us long distance how to fix it. I hope we don’t ever have to call him but it’s nice to know and we know it works.
We updated our vaccinations and Marco Pot from Health Plus in Laren provided us with a vitamin kit, MYOPLEXprotein bars, and ginseng pills for extra energy during those long days and some supplements for stomach problems etc. As we will be travelling to dizzying heights we have taken some measures against altitude sickness. We have got some Diamox tablets and some bottles of portable oxygen. That should keep one of us sane during the days at altitude. We are also taking plenty of camera equipment including a ‘Contour ‘Mini cam that has already provided us with some amazing in car pictures. In case we get lost you can track us down on Google Earth as the car is fitted with a tracking chip. Details can be found elsewhere on this site. The last bit of kit that is coming to Buenos Aires is a Satellite Phone. Although we expect to have quite good GSM coverage a Sat Phone is a safety precaution. Both the sat phone and the tracking device have been supplied and fitted by Majoor MobileTronics in Laren.
We are ready to go. You can follow us on this site but please remember we are on average 5 hours behind you so when you wake up in the morning you should find the report of the day before…
Happy reading and enjoy the trip.
Mick & Anty