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This is the single-news section of the news "Offroad & Motorsports". To see all news please use the link under the article or navigate with the left main-navigation.

Rainforest Challenge: Heavily rain caused to change the plans.

After another night at the prologue site the whole convoy moved further north into the jungle. During the night it had started to rain heavily and on the way several areas had to passed that were heavily flooded. The police had closed down main roads that only could be passed by appropriate vehicles any more. Already deep in the night all vehicles started to move into the jungle.

The original plan was to go inside for about 3 hours to reach the next campsite and drive a couple of special sections there. However only after a couple of kilometers the path began to rise steeply uphill. From the past rainfalls deep guts and holes had been washed out that made a passing without heavy winching impossible. After took more than 2 hours for the first cars to pass this section the organization decided that only the competitor cars would go inside.

It took the entire night for the competitor cars to reach the top of the hill. Everyone else was either involved in heavy work or tried to sleep in their cars while the rain fell down heavily. In a matter of minutes after a particularly heavy rainfall small rivers appeared out of nowhere on the road and made passing it even more complicated. A team of two Indonesian girls needed more than 6 hours to get on top of the hill. Under normal condition at that point everyone would have been 15 minutes in the track to the camp.

On early Sunday morning the rest of the convoy went back and set up a campsite next to a river to wait for the competitors. On Monday noon everyone was still waiting for news and the situation was slightly unclear as there is no official channel of information to the waiting media or team crews. At the same time special sections were prepared next to the campsite to be driven when the competitors would be back in the camp. It still constantly rained and the nearby river was going up and down by almost half a meter shortly after strong rainfalls.

The camp mood at that moment was good although especially the foreign participants were complaining about a lack of organization. "We haven't received any kind of news of what is currently going on, how long we will be staying here or what the plans for the next 24 hours are." worried a slightly concerned team member from Poland who has intense experience in organizing events. "We are all having fun and enjoy ourselfs but we are really surprised that an event with this magnitude of internationality relies mostly on a self-organization principle. We would expect a more intense flow of information from the organization in our direction."

The media crew had their own challenge of being stuck on Monday. While everyone was healthy and well supplied in the camp some of the local drivers of the media vehicles decided that due to an important holiday day the camp break could be used to visit friends and relatives and come back later. As a result the international media crew was quite surprised to find themselves sitting on their pile of bags in the middle of nowhere watching their cars leaving with the promise "to surely come back tomorrow". That type of adventures are also part of the rainforest experience and will usually not cause any harm although especially new media members were quite surprised.

From early Monday afternoon on the competitor cars were coming back out of the jungle were they had driven several spacial stages. "It was really a lot of fun" smiled a happy Marek Adamczyk. "It went quite well for us. A lot of the local guys are incredibly good but drove like crazy and broke some of their equipment. We went with a steady pace, got through very fast and still have no problems with our material."

Due to a lack of communication the competitor cars missed the way to the camp where everyone was waiting and went more than 50 kilometers into the next city where they found themselves without their support cars, media and organization. So it was decided to move the rest of the camp to the location where the competitors were waiting. That however was diffucult because the missing holiday drivers had not yet returned.

After a lot of discussion and changed plans the whole convoy split in two halfs with the competitors trying to reach the next campsite in the jungle and the media convoy and parts of the organization camping 100 kilometers behind in the old camp.

On Monday evening the remaining drivers all arrived back at the camp again. So the second part of the convoy will follow early on Tuesday evening to catch up with the rest of the crew. After having caught up with the rest of the crew we will will joining the competitors with our video and photo equipment into the Twilight zone were the crews will be going on long overgrown tracks making a passing very tough or impossible depening upon the weather conditions.

We will be walking the entire 50 jungle kilometers by foot over several days. As every gram is carefully balanced between drinking water, dry clothes medication and other equipment we will not be taking any transmission equipment into the jungle. So as plans might change on the way depeing on the conditions the most likely next news update will not happen before joining the main convoy again on the 14th of December. If the weather conditions are bad the next update might not happen before the 18th of December.

2008/12/11 | 13:45 CET | Editor: MR/HS/Joern Schekahn

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