Motoring: A lasting token of India: Gavin Green leaves Bombay and sets off with a vengeance on the home leg of the London-Sydney Marathon in his native Australia

DAY 19: Udaipur to Bombay - A long 500-mile slog along broken tarmac roads in heavy traffic. Slow, smoking, stinking, overladen buses and trucks were the greatest hazard, with people frequently perched on roofs or hanging from tails.

In towns, we were forever dodging people, animals, little motorcycles and bicycles.

There is surely no more tiring or dangerous place to drive than India. We passed a major accident every 11 miles. The crowds were huge, the biggest of the rally. People lined the route for about 200 of the 500 miles. Whenever we stopped - for a street light or at a railway crossing - our car would be swamped.

Faces beamed, hands were outstretched, enthusiastic questions were asked in broken English. We arrived in teeming, ramshackle Bombay in late afternoon, in heavy traffic. Beggars, often with deformed limbs, accosted us whenever we stopped.

Tonight the cars were all steam cleaned to pass Australian quarantine regulations. They were then loaded on to the two Antonov cargo planes for the flight to Perth.

Three drivers narrowly missed the flight. The former British Touring Car champion, Barrie Williams, broke the gearbox of his Hillman Hunter, hired a low-loader and missed the plane by less than an hour. A Mercedes driver arrived at the airport just in time to see the Antonovs taxiing down the runway. And a Porsche driver who hit a bridge also missed the cut. All three cars are stuck in Bombay.

DAY 20: Rest day, Bombay - Did some shopping downtown. I was suffering from Delhi belly, which didn't bode well for the evening's chartered Uzbekistan Airways flight to Perth.

DAY 21: Bombay to Perth, Western Australia - Arrived safely in Perth after the overnight 11-hour flight. There could be no greater contrast with Bombay than clean, spacious, orderly, beautiful Perth, one of the world's most pleasant cities. Took the Escort to a local Ford dealer for new brake pads, some work on the clutch and to check that the suspension was tight. Also bought some rally tyres, for the gravel special stages of Australia. Thus far we've been using normal road rubber.

DAY 22: Rest day, Perth - The Delhi belly has come back, and I'm feeling poorly. Depressing news: Basil Wadman, the British driver who succumbed to heat stroke in Udaipur after four successive days of driving in temperatures of more than 100 degrees, has died in Delhi.

DAY 23: Perth to Esperance - We left Perth in 18th place, along clean, deserted, well-maintained highways to the Mundaring Forest for the first of today's three special stages. All were on tight, narrow gravel roads, bordered by gum trees. A host of current and former Australian champions are in this event, and all went quickly. Afterwards, a long transport stage to Esperance, near Australia's south-western tip, 550 miles from Perth. Many of the roads were rough gravel. Recent heavy rain has filled the usually dry creek crossings. Some cars were bogged, and we stopped twice with damp ignition, caused by floodwater drowning the engine.

DAY 24: Esperance to Kalgoorlie - More rough gravel roads and two long special stages, both on narrow tracks edged with eucalyptus. One was a straight drag, but the closeness of the trees and the thick sand on the road made conditions treacherous. Our Escort was doing 105mph in places, and getting airborne on the crests. We were seventh quickest on that stage.

In Kalgoorlie, an old gold-mining town, we had a two-mile street race for the third and final special stage of the day. Half the town - about 10,000 people - turned out to watch Kalgoorlie's mini Monaco Grand Prix. Overnight we're in 18th place. Tomorrow we begin the toughest part of the rally - crossing the Nullarbor Plain, the vast treeless desert that promises broken suspension, punctures and, possibly, a complete shake-up in the results.

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Buyer / Planner

    £20000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An excellent opportunity has ar...

    Recruitment Genius: Marketing Manager

    £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity working ...

    Recruitment Genius: Assistant Journals Manager

    £33000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The prime focus of the role is to assist...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Bristol

    £18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment C...

    Day In a Page

    Giants Club: After wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, Uganda’s giants flourish once again

    Uganda's giants are flourishing once again

    After the wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, elephant populations are finally recovering
    The London: After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

    After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

    Archaeologists will recover a crucial item from the wreck of the London which could help shed more light on what happened in the vessel's final seconds
    Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

    Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

    The invention involves turbojets and ramjets - a type of jet engine - and a rocket motor
    10 best sun creams for kids

    10 best sun creams for kids

    Protect delicate and sensitive skin with products specially formulated for little ones
    Tate Sensorium: New exhibition at Tate Britain invites art lovers to taste, smell and hear art

    Tate Sensorium

    New exhibition at Tate Britain invites art lovers to taste, smell and hear art
    Ashes 2015: Nice guy Steven Finn is making up for lost time – and quickly

    Nice guy Finn is making up for lost time – and quickly

    He was man-of-the-match in the third Test following his recall to the England side
    Ashes 2015: Remember Ashton Agar? The No 11 that nearly toppled England

    Remember Ashton Agar?

    The No 11 that nearly toppled England
    Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

    US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

    Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
    VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

    'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

    VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
    Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

    Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

    Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
    The male menopause and intimations of mortality

    Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

    So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
    Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

    'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

    Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
    Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

    Bettany Hughes interview

    The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
    Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

    Art of the state

    Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
    Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

    Vegetarian food gets a makeover

    Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks