Wednesday 22/10/2003

4th STAGE: Cleve - Whyalla (253 Km)

The sun, finally!
Finally there’s not much wind!
The early morning signs are promising; the Team’s morale also.
On the map the path seems rather smooth and the distance does not seem prohibitive.
Strangely we are able to make it early at the “Pit lane” and we joke with our sworn rivals of Malaysia. The maiale is ready at the start line and we begin the pre-race checks.
The battery is Ok! For the first time in two days the display showing the energy supplied from the solar cells moves away from zero!
Today we will be able to give our best!
We connect the telemetry and… surprise. It doesn’t work!
The maiale is opened while we glance at our watch… we can make it.
Thomas transforms himself from a “rider” to an Electronics technician and is able to find a cut wire … blast those vibrations.
Blast the australian asphalt which is too rough for vehicles which travel at over 50 km/h on tyres pumped at 9 atmospheres.
We are able to resolve the problem keeping our nerves on hold and with some Italian pride.
Finally we start and Enrico (team manager) instills right away a feverish but regular determination.
Somebody in the camper gossips that perhaps the impulse with so much energy comes from the female blonde journalist which our team manager was able to bring inside the camper during today’s stage.
Sad to say there is no time to continue to gossip...
Those damn vibrations!
The maiale is not pushing! It’s restarted! Yes! No, it’s stopped again!
During this ordeal in which one races trying all the emergency procedures in order to “reset” the system; the riders, wires, and batteries are changed. The spare parts are prepared and the next step is evaluated.
We are able to arrive at Whyalla limiting the lead and gaining time from our pursuers.
At this point it seems that the leading team has an edge upon us.
It comforts us to know that they fear us and the maiale, especially when it’s sunny and the road is uphill.
Besides, it must be emphasized that the team has all that it needs for endurance races:
feeling, self-control and a desire to never give up.
While I am writing the entire team is busy solving the problems that we encountered today.
Tomorrow is a long stage… the “Maiale” will be there in the front!