Day 25 – Craddock to Plettenberg Bay
Oh boy, this country has so many different faces. Today we drive from this small country town to the coast to the rather glamorous seaside resort of Plettenberg Bay.
After a fitful sleep in our own workman’s cottage we had breakfast in the Victoria Hotel at the corner of this exclusive street . We had an 8.14 start time but before I go on let me tell you a bit more about the competition in this rally.
As reported before the entire rally competition was stopped after the fatal accident on Friday the 13th.
It resumed again in a mild and toned down format after we returned to Botswana from the Victoria falls.
Grace and I agreed that would continue to do the time trials and the circuit tests but at our own pace. Most time trials are off road on gravel tracks and small mountain passes but none of them on closed roads. So until today we took it fairly easy and enjoyed the ride.
Some people stopped to compete and only clock out of the hotel in the morning and clock in, in the evening.
Then there are those that say they will not go full out but they continue to do this anyhow. Fortunately quite a few of these fast boys started to break theirs cars and so two days ago we found ourselves in 9th position overall….Not bad from 35 started cars.
Then two days ago after the Dezzi Raceway circuit test quite a few of the ‘top’ teams made a mistake and forget to clock in and out a time control right after the circuit.
There is a minimum of a 15 minute penalty depending on the lateness at this TC and so last night suddenly we were in 5th position overall. Today all hell broke lose with the penalized teams and because the organisers were quite late with the penalties they decided from tonight that there would not be an overall results list anymore but that teams would be rewarded with gold silver and bronze medals for not missing any time controls and start and finishes. Can you still follow this …
So everybody is happy but we are not. It also proves again that like with the Peking to Paris rally the fast runners do not always get to the finish.
Back to the rally.
After about 3 km we went onto a gravel road on the way to a small mountain pass where the start for the first time trial will be. It was an almost 10 km run on fairly good loose gravel.
During the run we had to make four stops and at each stop we had to note down a registration number that was put beside the road. Each time a fast get away until the next stop. The climb was quite steep and that is perfect for our fairly powerful car so after 10 km we finished and found out tonight that we had actually set the fastest time of the test. We got our first medal for this during dinner tonight….
The rest of the day was covering a lot of miles in nice and quiet country lanes, which brought us eventually back to the coast near a big city called Port Elizabeth. This is a major port in South Africa and we welcomed the cool sea breeze.
Then past Port Elizabeth continuing along the coastal route for our final control of the day at Jeffreys Bay.
Then we were given a choice of two routes.
The mountain route via the Prince Alfred Pass or the direct coast road to Plettenberg Bay..
We choose to forgo the scenic route and go direct to the hotel rather then risk the car at some of the gravel tracks up the pass. It also saved about 120 km extra driving.
We got to the Plettenberg Bay Hotel around 15.30 and we found another seaside resort with stunning views of the ocean.
Plettenberg Bay is a nice affluent little seaside town and judging from the shops and the cars, Porsches BMW’s and Audis, it is a predominant white area. This in contrast to Craddock where we came from where the white population is clearly in the minority.
The hotel overlooking the Bay of Plettenberg is very good and like with some of the other hotels we stayed in the last few weeks it is a shame we are only here for one night.
Tomorrow one more long day and one more test to do. Then on to Hermanus another seaside town.
Mick & Grace ( fast asleep)