Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Our XK120 know as Charlie Jaguar gives Molly a rest,

Charlie Jaguar gives Molly a rest.

Molly Porsche has been very busy over the past few years clocking up nearly 35,000 competitive  kilometers on various rallies around the world.

This year we have decided to give her a well earned rest.

We are taking part in our longest rally yet it is the Pan American Friendship Rally covering 10,300 miles, 27 states and over a 6 week period.

To tackle such a long and hard rally we have enlisted the help of Charlie Jaguar.
1953 XK120 know as Charlie Jaguar

Charlie is a 1953 Jaguar XK120 FHC right hand drive. He is quite a rare car, they only made 57 of these Special Equipment models, so we will look after him.

We have started a blog for Charlie and this great rally. 
This can be found at
The people who have organised this amazing trip are The Global Rally Organisation.
The route looks something like this, think we will need a rest after this, but boy, what an adventure.

Molly's next rally is to Japan in 2017 on The Samurai Challenge  organised by our good friends at RallyRound.

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Molly Porsche off on another Rally. HERO rally of Iceland 2015

Our 356A Porsche, Molly, got fed up rallying around hot countries like South Africa, South America, Asia and Mongolia. So in April 2015 we are competing in the Historic Endurance Rally Organisation Saga of Iceland rally.
Our blog should be up and running from 17th April. The address is Molly Porsche
Hope you enjoy it.
Porsche 356A on a rally

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

The last day, will Molly Porsche make it ?

Day 25 the last day.
This is always an exciting day in any rally. You have nearly finished but you still have to get across the finish line. Every knock, rattle and bang are heart stopping moments as you fear the worse and may be the car or you won't make it. its only about 400km what can go wrong?
There are two ways to go today. 
One along the main tarmac road and the other over the Cederberg Pass. Its worth looking this up and watching videos of guys on trial bikes trying to do this pass. 

We are doing it in very tired and battered rally cars. I have no idea what the scenery was like because I couldn’t take my eyes of this mountain goat track of a road. We think it is the final sting in the tail of this great rally and a way of eventually braking Molly. But no, she won’t give up, some of the gradient is so steep we are in 1st gear going up and coming down. We did stop every now and again and I must admit the scenery was stunning.
Alas one poor car the Jeepster of Dick and Matilde didn’t make it, they had to be towed and trucked out.
After this we eventually get onto tarmac roads and head for The Cape of Good Hope, passing through fantastic Alpine like scenery and some brilliant twisty turny roads and Molly has a rather spirited race with an MGB :)

There has been a competition to see if any car can finish the event without any mechanical assistance. Its amazing how many rattles and bangs you can hear and feel over the last 20km.
We drive onto the tip of The Cape of Good Hope at 4.00pm we have finished!!!!!  We have covered 9125 km not the 7000 we thought we were doing.
Having crossed the finishing line we then have to drive back to the hotel in Cape Town, the route takes us along Chapman's Peak Drive. I have taken an extract from website, take their word for it not mine :) What a way to finish.
Situated on the Atlantic Coast, Chapman’s Peak Drive is one of the most spectaculars roads in the world. With a length of 9km, winds it way between Noordhoek and Hout Bay, at the south-western tip of South Africa. The road is part of the M6.
This short road, with 114 curves, skirts the rocky coastline of Chapman's Peak and offers stunning 180° views of the western side of the CapePeninsula. It is widely regarded as one of the most scenic stretches of road anywhere in the world.

We have had the most fabulous time, we have made great new friends and we have discovered a place called Southern Africa. Sometimes this rally has bought us to tears. These have been tears of laughter and tears of total joy and overwhelming awe at the beauty of this quite incredible continent. 
Thank you Endurance Rally Association for a marvellous event. We will do it again. Thank you to Gantspeed Engineering for preparing Molly and making her such a joy to drive. Lets see if Molly can reach 30,000km of competitive rallying without any mechanical problemsI I would also like to thank Molly for keeping us safe and my wonderful wife Julie who has now navigated us some 25,000 competitive rally kilometres without a mistake, all I do is do as i’m told and steer Molly. i wouldn’t have it any other way.
Porsche 356A in South Africa

Thank you for reading our blog, we hope you have enjoyed it and may be inspired you go rallying and have your own adventures :)
On to Bhutan our next rally in 2015.
Go, go, go Molly.
Nearly forgot to mention we came 9th overall, which is way beyond our expectations :)
Full results can be seen on Endurance Rally Association results
David, Julie and Molly Porsche 

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Our own P2P or points and puncture, two very long days

day 23, A very big driving day of 587 km from Namib Desert Lodge to Fish River Canyon.
Sorry we have missed a few days but the connection was bad and we were pretty exhausted.
The last few days have been fairly dramatic with some of the lead cars having major problems. The other and very fast Porsche in the event had a major problem at the rear and had to be retired, the big Dodge Coupe developed an engine problem and missed a time trial, at the end of day 23 the car park resembled a Halfords Drive in Service on a Saturday morning. There were broken cars in all directions, luckily for me Molly was not one of them, but we had had a bit of drama on the way.
I had extended my mechanising abilities and changed Mollys points, she now flew along with no popping and banging. Remember in a previous blog i had said how to drive on gravel and look after your tyres, well I should have taken my own advice. We got a puncture in the middle of nowhere. Thankfully Jose and Maria stopped and lent us their ultra low jack. I had checked that my scissor jack fitted under Molly before we left the UK. What I hadn’t checked was if the jack fitted with a flat tyre and on sand :) Lesson learned.  Gianmaria and Rosella also stopped to lend a helping hand and moral support
Wheel changed and we headed for the next village. Here we found a garage but they had no power, but the guy said he could change our damaged tyre for the new one we carried by hand, using good old fashioned tyre levers. He spent about 40 min doing all this for us while all his mates came over to take photos.  He had to use our portable pump and puncture repair kit but fixed it all and off we went.
The first drama of the event.
The accommodation at Fish River Canyon was bizarre. The hotel was arrange as little lodges scattered around a huge rock outcrop in the middle of the desert.
To make it more strange there in the middle was a perfect natural grass crazy golf course. Unfortunately we didn’t have time to try and set a course record for most shots taken but would love to come back to this place.
Porsche 356A Molly Porsche at the Tropic of Capricorn

Porsche 356A with a puncture in Africa

Day 24 A huge driving day of 620km.  To give you a flavour of this rally and the roads the first part of today’s run is on an unmapped road across the desert to the Richtersveld National Park. This leads us to the South African border, easily crossed and then a long long drive to Clanwilliam. Thankfully all the repaired cars are back on the road and make it to Clanwilliam lodge. 
Along the route were endless roadworks. The South Africans seem to like closing one lane of great lengths of road. This means you have to wait about 10-20 min until its your turn to proceed. Then the locals try to drive at double the speed limit 0f 60km, if you don’t keep up you get overtaken on single lane roads and cut up.
These roadwork chicanes were some of the fastest ands hairiest driving we have done all rally. Quite good fun except for the speed trap on the last section, luckily they missed Molly but did catch some of the others.  
Endurance rally Association roads in South Africa
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 Some homes are not so fancy, but at least they have a pub. These is a town for the workers on the vineyards.

Over the past few days we have been lucky enough to stay in some great locations and have really good rooms. Clanwilliam Lodge was the end of the fairytale.
This was a very tired hotel, with some pretty poor rooms. Ours was OK except for being at the front in pole position for listening to the car alarms going off in the night and the hotel doors banging. Back to normality :)
We leave Clanwilliam quite quickly and set off on the last day.

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Some assorted photos of the past few days

We have now arrived back in South Africa, we are about 400km from Cape Town and the finish.
Lots to report on the last two days but thought it was about time we had some photos.
Here is a quick view of the last few days.
Assorted hotel rooms and lodges, some good and some stunning.

And here are some of the roads we have just driven, some good, some stunning and one still being constructed :)

Full blog tomorrow, we have just driven 620 km today and a beer is urgently needed.

Friday, 23 May 2014

Desert more desert and thick fog

Day 21 The first part of this day is only 1.21 km, we drive to a museum where we see the rock carvings of ancient man. Fascinating, its only 8.00am and its already very hot. 
We then drive across the desert to a place called Uis which is a mining town. This was only a shortish distance of 142 Km but it was a real problem for some of the bigger engined cars. There should have been petrol at Twyfelfontein but there wasn’t. This meant that the big cars just could not get to the next petrol stop, many ran out but with the help of other competitors and Greg and Jenny in their 4x4 everyone was able to beg, borrow and steal enough petrol to get to Uis and the next petrol stop.
In Uis there was an amazing cafe called the Coffee and Cactus a truly beautiful establishment with fantastic coffee and cakes all in the middle of nowhere.
We have two time trials today both of which Molly and her ever so slightly knackered driver and navigator managed to clear, that means no penalty points Hurrah !!
The day finished at the coast in Swakopmund. This is a relatively big town and right on the Atlantic coast. The desert meets the Atlantic and this stretch of coast is know as the Skeleton Coast because of all the shipwrecks caused in bad weather.
The temperature dropped from about 35 to 10 in a matter of a few km, very refreshing but actually a bit too cold. We even have to put the heater on in Molly.
Some very bad news today, Andrew and Gina have had to call it a day, the Crossley has terminal mechanical problems and can be driven no further. The car and crew have done remarkable well to get this far. Lets hope Andrew and Gina can hire a car to finish the trip.
Molly's still going but the petrol is giving us problems. We have just realised that the higher the grade the worse the actual petrol. To get a higher grade someone adds all sorts of chemicals (ethanol) and in these very high temperatures this evaporates before it gets to the engine and causes the car to misfire a lot.
Never mind we carry on and enjoy the journey.
The anticipated weight lose in these high temperatures is definitely not going to plan. The food and odd glass of wine has been exceptional and a little too freely available. Think some serious work in the gym will be needed when we get back. Well that’s what we say now.

Day 22
Off into the desert again past huge sand dunes to a place called Solitaire. The scenery on this drive starts as one long dead straight road straight through the middle of the desert. At 9.00 its damn hot and we try to keep Molly cool by dropping our speed and just cruise along at about 90kph. Suddenly the landscape changes into one of breathtaking beauty. Mountains, sand coloured grasses, blue skies and fluffy white clouds in all directions. The road suddenly turns into a gravel based Alpine road with stunning views at each turn, we have never seen landscape like before. There was meant to be a time trial today. Luckily it was cancelled due to road works. I say luckily because it gave us the chance to really see this amazing countryside and stop and take pictures as we passed the Line of Capricorn. 
We arrive at Solitaire and unfortunately my mechanic demon comes out to play and I decide it would be a good idea to air hose the engine bay and get all the sand out of it.
I finish doing a really professional job, go to start the car and no matter what I do Molly will not start. This is very serious for two reasons 1 we can’t go any further and 2 I may need to get help from the mechanics and lose the battle to see which car can go the furthest without their help.
I chat through what I have done with Rob (one of the mechanics) who suggests I look in the distributor and see if I have blasted dust into it.Once I have identified what a distributor is I take the cap off and find the desert in there. I give it a clean and another gentle blast with the air gun and lo and behold Molly starts and we are back in business, still untouched by a mechanic. I am now beginning to consider myself quite a bush mechanic, I changed a brake light on the South America rally, changed a petrol filter, tightened the exhaust and now fixed a distributor. Think that all deserves a beer.
Bit of a problem for one of the other cars today, the Jeepster driven by Ernie and Jeanne had a spindle give way and their wheel came off. They are OK and hopefully they can trailer the car back to town and get it fixed. It gives you an idea how hard these roads are if a Jeepster has this sort of problem.
We really like Namibia, full of contrast and lovely people. 
Sorry again for lack of pictures. The internet in the middle of the desert is a bit slow :)

Useful driving hints for desert roads :)

Day 20 from our wonderful lodge in Etosha to a desert camp in Twyfelontein. A mere 400km across the desert.
Fot the next 3 + days we are driving  across the Namib desert, this is winter so it’s not too hot just over 36 degrees which is about 100 degrees in English.
The roads we use are quite well graded gravel roads. Namibia has 5450 km of tar roads and 37,000 km of gravel, think we are due to cover most of the gravel roads :)
There is a definite technique to driving on these type of roads. A lot of them have been graded using a huge levelling machine which is dragged or pushed across the surface. This gives the road a serious corrugated effect which makes the cars jump, which in turn makes the corrugations even worse.
The technique is to drive at a fast enough speed that the tyres actual jump from the top of one ridge to another. This speed varies all the time and also depends on the size tyres you have.
Molly has very small wheels/tyres. We have to drive at over 80 and up to about 100km to get the car to fly over the corrugations. Anything below this and Julie starts to lose her fillings. Anything above this and I start to lose my nerve. Once you have obtained the optimum speed you then have to try and steer the car with only a fraction of the tyre touching the ground, and if you try to brake then the corrugations really hurt the car and us. You have to concentrate 100% of the time or you're in trouble. At the end of 300km + you know you’ve been driving.
Another thing you must do is pump the tyres up until the side walls are straight up and down, any bulge in the side walls and you will probably get a puncture. the rally had 9 punctures in one day. Its not fun fixing a tyre in the middle of a desert in 100 degrees.
Some of the cars run on truck or taxi tyres. These have very hard side walls and very thick casing, theses type of tyres are very good for rough track roads. Unfortunately they don’t make this tyre for Molly so we have to run on standard road tyres pump up as hard as we dare. So far so good.  
Twyfelfontein is an extraodinary complex built into and around a rock outcrop in the desert, the view from the room is as far as the eye can see in all directions, only broken by a herd of elephants walking across the plain to the next watering hole.
We had dinner at 6.30 and in bed fast asleep by 8.30. This rallying is very tiring.