Team Saluki Desert Challenge 2007 - Defender Source
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  #1  
Old October 26th, 2007, 03:50 PM
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Talking Team Saluki Desert Challenge 2007

Friday 26th October 2007.

Today was the first official day of the U.A.E Desert Challenge of 2007.

It involves actually registering formally and of course paying the fees for the challenge. The team are provided with the necessary navigation and emergency equipment which needs to be installed in the vehicle prior to the buggy and drivers equipment checks tomorrow.

http://www.teamsaluki.com/images2007...msaluki001.jpg


So it's back to the Kennel where the installation of the equipment takes place. The already well stocked instrument panel of the buggy saw the installation of high quality video capture equipment to capture footage along the route. This is being done to provide you a closer to the action feeling.

http://www.teamsaluki.com/images2007...msaluki002.jpg

The camera, if you look closely enough is mounted where the rear view mirror would be located, with the storage device located on the right hand side near the emergency smash hammer.

Andrea Mayer (Paris-Dakar Ladies winner and previous Desert Challenge competitor), dropped in past the "Kennel" (which you can read as Mark's house), to see how the preparations on the Saluki III was progressing.

http://www.teamsaluki.com/images2007...msaluki003.jpg


Regards
Team Saluki
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  #2  
Old October 26th, 2007, 04:46 PM
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Is it that time already again? Man, the magazine coverage and stuff is so delayed that its easy lose track. Thanks a lot for posting here each year and keeping me (and others) in the loop.
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Old October 27th, 2007, 05:34 PM
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Yes its been a whole year! The signature at the bottom of the posts is clicky .. it will take you to the website (www.teamsaluki.com) which is updated regularly and will help you keep well up to date!

Follow-up Post:

Saturday 27th October 2007. "Check it in, check it out"


http://www.teamsaluki.com/images2007...msaluki004.jpg


The Saluki team have been joined over the last day or two by Bob, Craig for reporting and photograph duties and Roel from Fast and Speed, the buggy builders bringing the Team up to it's full complement.

It's the day of scrutineering where the Saluki III is crawled all over by the FIA inspectors to ensure that the regulations for the T1 class which we're racing in are complied with.

The Saluki certainly knows how to make an entrance, driving along the road en-route to the scrutineering, pedestrians, drivers and passengers all turn their heads at the sight and sounds of the Saluki. If you want to remain inconspicuous, the Saluki is not the vehicle for you.

The car cleared scrutineering successfully allowing Team Saluki to participate in the Desert Challenge starting with the prologue tomorrow.


http://www.teamsaluki.com/images2007...msaluki005.jpg



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Team Saluki
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  #4  
Old October 28th, 2007, 02:25 PM
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Day three..

Sunday 28th October "And they're off"
It's the day of the prologue where the starting positions for the official start tomorrow morning are decided.
The Saluki team are up and running early morning to shoot off and get the "out of towners" their UAE driving licenses. At the licensing office we have Craig, Roel, Bob and Lee all lining up to pay their money, take an eye test and then get the paperwork translated into Arabic to be dealt with by an official. As they collected their licenses - Bob, just five minutes after taking his eye test declares that the license that the official was handing back was in fact his and takes it. Unfortunately for Bob his eye test must have been sub-standard as the license was in fact Craigs. We're thinking about getting Bob a Guide Dog.
We spent some time getting both camera's up and running, getting them aligned and briefing Tim on how to operate the "complicated" controls. There's one button to switch the unit on, and the same button operates the start stop. It seems that race nerves got the better of him and in the buildup to the first day of racing for the Saluki buggy Tim forgot to push the start button. We've worked out a system for tomorrow - the word "Video" will be at the top of his race notes for future days. C'est la vie.

http://www.teamsaluki.com/images2007...msaluki006.jpg

Saluki started the day in 22nd position and run of just over 2m and six seconds it's done and dusted for the day. We're placed provisionally in 17th, a place Mark and Tim are happy with - it gives us more to hunt down.
Mark commented that the run was much faster than last years with long straights between the tight turns and provided some challenges in the deep soft sand.
The provisional results for todays event are posted here and you can check throughout the day tracking when the cars finish each special stage here
It's a 5am start for the Saluki team as we head down to Abu Dhabi for the Ceremonial start tomorrow morning so no doubt it will be an early night tonight.
Regards
Team Saluki.
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Old October 29th, 2007, 04:42 PM
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Day four..

Monday 29th October 2007. "The ups and the downs"

A lovely start to the day - sitting in the garden of the Emirates Palace hotel, Tim briefing us on the origins of the word "toe rag" whilst we waited for the Ceremonial start. Little did we know at the time that the first of those words would play a major part in our day.

The official start was delayed almost an hour whilst the military has some live target practice in the area the teams were due to drive through. That would have sorted out the slow cars but the organisers opted to err on the side of caution and delayed the start.

Finally getting underway, the Saluki showed it's pace and by the first viewing point had gained a couple of places working it's way through the field.

http://www.teamsaluki.com/images2007...msaluki007.jpg


Waiting at the service area were the crew anxiously waiting on its arrival and hoped safe passage without stopping - however they were dismayed to hear that the Saluki had suffered gearbox problems only 20Km from the service point. In the spirit of the rally, they were aided by a fellow competitor to the service point where the service crew took over.


http://www.teamsaluki.com/images2007...msaluki008.jpg


We opted to tow the Saluki back to the bivouac with the service truck where repairs could take place in the temporary "Kennel" that James and Lee had setup the previous day. However en-route the service truck decided that it didn't actually need all the coolant in it's radiator and decided to empty it all over the Hameem road much to the annoyance of the service crew and the people they were towing at the time.

Luckily we had two spare cars that we could call on to tow both sick vehicles back to the bivouac - a distance of approximately 165Km.

Both sick cars are now back at Camp Saluki and the Saluki is being crawled over by the spanner monkeys to replace the gearbox in readiness for tomorrows race.

This has got to the one of the lows of the challenge, which of course on the upside means things can only get better.

Remember - You can check throughout the day, track when the cars finish each special stage here. We're team number 222.

Regards
Team Saluki
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Old October 30th, 2007, 04:54 PM
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Day 5

Tuesday 30th October "back on track"

There's good news and bad news from Team Saluki today.

The good news is that the Saluki is back to full health today. Roel, Rick and Leno did their spanner monkey magic last night and diagnosed and fixed the problem from last night. It wasn't the gearbox as everyone first thought, it seems that the clutch plate had a "minor" disagreement between itself and some sand that had managed to ingress into the clutch housing with the obvious and fatal results.

For those that don't understand mechanical things, here is the Team Saluki guide to diagnosing if your clutch plate is at fault.


http://www.teamsaluki.com/images2007...msaluki009.jpg


The ingress source has been fixed and shouldn't happen again.


Now the bad news - one of the Saluki team has been sleeping around. He was caught coming out of the tent with a bird this morning. It seems that a stranger had decided to sleep with Craig in his tent last night. Whilst Craig was no doubt dreaming of another kind of bird, this little fella paid him a visit during the night.


http://www.teamsaluki.com/images2007...msaluki010.jpg


They weren't disturbing each other so both slept peacefully in his tent. He (the bird that is) was released this morning after being offered some water, Craig on the other hand will be permanently scarred knowing that the only bird that would sleep with him is the feathered variety. Such is the life of a member of an International rally team.

http://www.teamsaluki.com/images2007...msaluki011.jpg


As we write this - the Saluki with the guys have just crossed the finish line after a long seven hours in the race car. Having had his first full day of racing in anger with the buggy, Mark tried to describe the experience without using swear words along with other words such as awesome, outstanding and amazing but he was unable to. Make your own mind up what his impression of the Saluki III is.

With both Mark and Tim suffering in the intense heat and them having to resort to pouring water inside their boots and flameproof suits in an attempt to keep cool - It's nice to know that thanks to Serck and Castrol Edge, that the Saluki is running cool and hasn't missed a beat today, unlike the poor occupants. Lets hope it keeps it up for the rest of the race and the boys can handle the heat. If todays performance is anything to go by we're in for a fun week.


Regards
Team Saluki
www.teamsaluki.com
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Old October 31st, 2007, 05:19 PM
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Day 6..

Wednesday 31st October "Got Rhythm"

The good news continues in the Saluki Camp. Talk of the camp last night was that Gayle was due to be bringing treacle pudding for our dessert as both she and Tracy are arriving today. Let's hope she's remembered it or the peasants will up in arms, and at this stage of the challenge that's not a good thing.

The camp itself seems more relaxed this year compared to previous challenges. The vehicle's reliable and serviced early, the camp chefs James and Lee have been doing a great job of reheating the food for evening dinner. James seems to have however taken this domestic chore to heart and can constantly be seen cleaning and clearing up the camp. All he needs is the maids outfit, we would be sorted and he'd be in seventh heaven.

Mark it seems has joined this domestic bliss that has descended over the camp, whilst he washed his race underwear in a basin I asked him to brief us on todays race and how it was. Overall it seems that the car and occupants are starting to get used to each other under race conditions. The beginning of the stage saw the Saluki chasing hard through a series of cars. As luck would have it, they then got stuck and lost the ground they had just gained.

The guys got to check out the air cylinders supplied by Tyco International at this point when they had to use them to jack the car up to free themselves from deep sand, as expected they worked a treat. Certainly makes getting yourself free much quicker, which is a pity as we're sure Tims only exercise during the event used to be jacking the car up manually when they were stuck. Give him his due though - he certainly seems to have found a cure for his motion sickness, three days into the event and he's feeling fine.

The Team would like to thank Pieter Van Herpen, a quad rider in the challenge (Rider 75) who whilst the Saluki was stuck, stopped his own race to assist in getting the Saluki underway.

http://www.teamsaluki.com/images2007...msaluki012.jpg

Free from their predicament the charge was then on again. As they were charging hard, they had a close call with a rogue vehicle on the route. Avoiding action was taken but as Mark put it - it was a very, very, very close call.

The latter part of todays route was almost the same as yesterdays - the guys both managed to call the correct lines through the dunes with one exception which they called as a Flat Crest - unfortunately it wasn't and the Saluki III went airborne. The spoiler wing on the rear wasn't going to help them - they were influenced by gravity and it was taking over. The bump never really came as the suspension did it's job beautifully and soaked up the drop allowing the Saluki to continue it's charge.

http://www.teamsaluki.com/images2007...msaluki012.jpg

As Mark summed it up - a day of lows and highs, the car is performing incredibly well and is fun to drive, given that they're just getting used to each other it's probably the right choice of vehicle. "We're getting into our rhythm" he finished with, as it was time to hang his underwear on the line to dry.

We finished provisionally 12th today.


Thank you for your moral boosting messages that some of you have sent to this email address. I've passed them on, If you want to send them a message - just email them to site@teamsaluki.com and I'll pass them onto the team.


It seems there was a link problem for the race stats with previous emails - they've changed where they're reporting the stats from and seemingly not told anyone. The correct one can be found here - select which day you want.. Or you can follow the live results here and select cars at the top right. Remember we're car 222.

Regards
Team Saluki
www.teamsaluki.com
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  #8  
Old November 1st, 2007, 05:01 PM
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Day 7

Thursday 1st November "We've got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it's sunny and we're wearing sunglasses."

Oh dear, there was almost a revolt in Camp Saluki last night. Gayle didn't take down the long hoped for treacle pudding. Turning up with a peace offering of chocolate muffins instead. The muffins seem to have pacified the crew though, they've settled into their normal routines and even finished up relatively early last night.

We don't know if there was too many 'E' numbers in the muffins last night, but whatever there was, it seems to have stirred Mark and Tim to guide the Saluki to charge through the course, overtaking many of vehicles in front of them. They started in 15th place for the day and by the time they screamed through the first checkpoint, 80 Km distant (50 Miles for those not working in Eurometres) they were up to 8th place. By the second checkpoint, they were up to 7th and screamed past the whole of the Saluki team who were assembled at the service point waving frantically, the guys hurtled without so much as a wave. That's the way we like it.

It was going to be a tight race based on the fuel consumption of the Saluki but the guys are on a mission from someone and who are we to stop them.

There are a couple of spare muffins in the camp today so I can see the guys being forced fed them whether they want them or not if todays performance is anything to go by.

http://www.teamsaluki.com/images2007...msaluki014.jpg

Whilst at the service point, one of the team managed to get himself stuck in the soft sand, he shall remain nameless but let's call him Craig for the benefit of this write up. Being directed off the track by a course marshall and still on road tyre pressures his borrowed car decided that it quite liked where it was and didn't like the look of where Craig wanted to take it. The obvious result was that Craig was going nowhere. Rather than let the tyre pressures down and re-inflate once underway Craig promised payment of 100 Dirhams(not much) to Paul and Dave to push him out. They foolishly agreed, so with some body power assisting the engine, the car was soon released from it's stuck position, Craig, a Scotsman and not one to part with his money foolishly, drove off leaving Paul and Dave in the sand and without their 100 Dhms.

http://www.teamsaluki.com/images2007...msaluki015.jpg

The guys came storming over the finish line - very light on fuel but still on a mission. They came in provisionally 6th today - a cracking result and one that certainly shows the capabilities of the Saluki III.

I've asked Tim to comment on todays race at the Saluki interview point, the race underwear wash basin. From the navigators point of view he thought today was superb. It's the best days motor racing he's had for a long long time. The car was faultless and with one exception the navigation was excellent. Give the guys some credit - they temporarily missed a waypoint whilst concentrating on overtaking one of the other competitors. A quick turn and the waypoint was reached and the competitor was soon left in their dust a short distance afterwards. As he rinsed his smalls the Saluki spanner monkeys have advised him that the clunking noise they heard 5Km (3 Miles) from the end of the race was the differential. Being the well prepared team that Saluki are, the spare differential that arrived two days before the race began is now being slipped into place.

All in all, "a stonking day" as Mark put it.

Looking it up in the Saluki dictionary it gives the following description.

Stonking, (British colloquial adjective): superb, tremendous, the best of the best, day 4 of the 2007 challenge.

Tomorrow is the last day of the challenge, we do hope you're following the results as they happen here when the race is finished and here for the live results as they cross the lines.


Regards
Team Saluki
www.teamsaluki.com
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  #9  
Old November 3rd, 2007, 09:21 AM
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Day 8..

Friday 2nd November 2007- "Take it to the limit."

Apologies for the lateness of this update but it was a very very long day yesterday and most of us didn't get into our bed until 2am this morning. Yes I know we're slacking but it's been a long week and the appeal of an ice cold drink, a nice shower and a comfy bed got the better of us.


The evening before the last day is always a strange one - the camp changes as most of it is packed up onto the transport truck and we're left with the basics - tables, chairs and of course the our own conversation. One of the many topics discussed during the evening was the challenge. Not the race but the quest to satisfy Tracy's longing for a specific man. Nothing particular in that, but she's quite detailed in what she's looking for. Not that she's thought about it long and hard but we've decided to write her a wanted ad to expand her search. She'll probably kill me for this - but we like to see people happy so anything is worth a try.

Tracy, Team Saluki team member (but don't hold that against me), would like to meet a man, age not that important but must have the strength of Jack Bauer, the body of Hugh Jackman and the voice of Clive Mantle. Personality not important and you'll only be needed for one night a week (Friday). If you feel you meet this criteria and more importantly are available for the specific one night a week get in touch with us through the website, please include a photograph of yourself.


Now back to other less important things - the other challenge.

An early start for the final leg heading back up to near where we started - Dubai, which means it's an early start for everyone. The service crew have got to get to the service area which is a 4 hour drive via the road or probably about 2 hours across the desert on gatch tracks. Paul and Roel opt for the latter whilst Craig heads out on the 4 hour road journey with a plan of meeting the Saluki somewhere between service and the start of the next stage. The Saluki heads off un-escorted at the start and heads it's long way back north. Four hours later - Craig's standing at the service area by himself - he then receives a call from the service crew - all attempts to get from the desert out to the correct road had failed and they were now passing an area on the road that Craig had passed about 90 minutes previously. The phone call was ironically timed to perfection - the service crew asking for road directions to get to the service area and the Saluki making an appearance over the dunes heading for the service area. The Saluki, true to previous days didn't need anything - some water for the guys and then we are e on our way up the road to the start of the second stage. En-route, a rendevouz point is made with the service crew to meet at petrol station about 90Km from where we both were - amazingly they managed to find it.

http://www.teamsaluki.com/images2007...msaluki018.jpg

We see them off at the start of the second stage of the day and Paul and Roel head for PC 2 to catch them there as they go past whilst everyone else in the team has headed to the flying finish near Dubai. Passing the Schlesser buggy which looks like it's had a bad roll, the Saluki guys check on the occupants condition and are given the thumbs up so continue towards the finish. 5 Km from where the other buggy had crashed the Saluki had an appointment at a drive through panel beating shop.

Standing at the finish line we receive the call from Paul, he can't be lost again, unfortunately it's not as simple as that he opens the conversation with "They've rolled it." Not exactly what we wanted to hear - but he did finish with "But they're underway again" Word spreads quickly through the band of Saluki supporters at the finish line and we're all thankful that the guys are okay.

Describing the body shop incident, they came down familiar section at speed and assumed that the sand spits that lay ahead were similar to those that they've experienced previously during the whole of the event. Suddenly realising that they were worse, they turned to avoid them, the front left wheel dug in, the Saluki then pirouetted on a 360 degree barrel roll with a twist, spinning and landing on it's wheels the correct way up again.

Amazingly this happened to be over the dune from where some team followers were spectating. Tim looked up at the top of the dune and thinks he's in a dream - of all the places to have an incident the first people that come to check their status are supporters, seeing that the guys are fine is a relief for them. Using some tape that's in the on board toolbox, the guys tape the now destroyed rear bodywork together to get them over the finish line. The front left tyre was burst and was changed using the on-board hydraulic jack, The rear shock was damaged during the crash so with a now wobbling rear wheel due to the structural damage the guys with determination stirring them on, head off for finish line, some 60Km distant.

http://www.teamsaluki.com/images2007...msaluki016.jpg

At the finish, the Saluki almost comes to a stop due to a Marshall slowing them down for some ruts in the track that had caused a couple of bikers incidents just 200 M from the finish line. The same place that the guys almost used their Landrover as a pile driver at last years event. The ruts are clearly marked in the road book but concentration must drop when there are so many people and the finish is in sight.

http://www.teamsaluki.com/images2007...msaluki019.jpg

Justin Carter (above) was badly bruised but did finish the race successfully. The Saluki crossed the finish line with no problems apart from the obvious battle scars, but it had been a long trying day in the car as once they were parked up the guys had shall we say a few words with each other.

The results of the event are that we came in 13th overall and considering that 51 vehicles actually entered the event, most of which didn't complete the course were happy with this position. Team Saluki came in First in Class (T1.3) and are currently 3rd in the Gulf. A tremendous achievement.

http://www.teamsaluki.com/images2007...msaluki017.jpg

Off we toddled to the end of event dinner last night. Chilled drinks and a nice buffet finished the event nicely. Unfortunately the wine they were trying to sell us wasn't exactly being sold with the sauve and sophistication that's normally associated with French wine. Our resident wine expert got the job of tasting it and for the first time ever actually sent the bottle back. To say it was bad would be being kind to it - we believe they only reason it was exported from France was that the French wouldn't drink it so we give them credit for that.

Another years done, another challenge completed. We hope you've enjoyed the updates we've sent you and I hope to get the guys to put something together for you in the next couple of days.



Regards
Team Saluki
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  #10  
Old November 8th, 2007, 04:31 PM
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Straight from the camels mouth..

The dust has settled and the pace of life in the Rub Al Khali has returned to normal. Camels can now go back to leisurely wandering the desert, the herders and farmers have to wait for another 12 months until they can once again sit on top of a dune and watch the adrenaline packed stages.


http://www.teamsaluki.com/images2007...msaluki020.jpg


The pace of life for Team Saluki has also come to a virtual standstill, with all the team members returning to their workplaces and trying to catch up where they left off.


This years UAE Desert Challenge was a turning point as far as the Team entry was concerned. The results showed that the Fast & Speed Honda powered buggy was the correct decision to make – a very able machine to challenge the top teams with. As privateers, we managed to split up the pack and the buggy became a talking point within the event. Considering the problem that we had on Day 1 with a cracked clutch plate (for which we were ‘awarded’ a 5 hour penalty) and a roll on Day 5, we still managed 13th overall, 1st in Class and 3rd in the Middle East, which just shows that we have what it takes.

Of course, whilst Tim and I were hurtling around the desert, we cannot forget the rest of the Team members, the people who greased the wheels (so to speak) and ensured that we could concentrate on the job in hand.

James Thomas and Lee Ashley (who flew in from the UK to help) set off on the day of the Prologue to trundle down to the bivouac at Moreeb in Liwa to set up the entire camp. Such was their dedication was that once they set it up, they decided to pull it down again and reset it as they felt it was not quite right! Once we had left for the long special section back to Dubai on Day 5, they were left to dismantle the entire camp. James and Lee also looked after the catering for the first two days until Gayle Powell arrived at the bivouac. Gayle had spent many days prior to the event preparing ready meals – spaghetti bolognaise and a great beef stew, to name a couple of the dishes, kept the Team going. Gayle also kept a video diary and was kept company by Tracie Mitchell (who is disappointed that no-one has contacted her yet. It seems that she may have set her standards too high!).

Craig McAteer and Bob Morrison (both escaping from the drizzle of the UK) were in charge of the Saluki press office (basically Craig’s laptop) and it was Craig who wrote up the days’ events and sent them to our very own Emma Thompson (who was in the UK wishing she was enjoying the sunshine as well) who in turn posted the updates on the many forums that showed an interest in the Team. Craig also mastered the in-car camera and ensured that we had all the footage downloaded and saved for posterity (or at least until we can find someone in a post production studio who wants to assist us by producing a DVD?). Craig and Bob also took the photos for the team which will be uploaded to the gallery as soon as they have been processed.

The servicing this year was simplicity in itself (compared to the Land Rover years). Roel Brussen from Fast & Speed joined us to provide his expertise and was ably assisted by Rick Galman and Leno from Carwise, a garage based in Dubai. Rick commented that their job was completed very quickly every day and that they had time to relax, unlike the previous years where they were up until 04:00 am. Roel was relaxed, in control and did his job very well.


http://www.teamsaluki.com/images2007...msaluki021.jpg


With his intimate knowledge of the area, Paul Richards played a roving role using his Land Cruiser in an overall support function. The fact that he had to drive back to Dubai for a meeting only to return once it was over shows the resolve of the people involved.

This year, the buggy generated a lot of interest and apart from doing a sterling job at higher than average speed navigating, Tim also capitalised on the PR opportunity and between us, we managed to cover most bases as far as the media was concerned. The link shows the print media and is being constantly updated as we obtain more clippings and articles.

http://www.teamsaluki.com/gallery/Te...i-in-the-Press


If anyone comes across an article, we would appreciate it if you could scan it or photograph it and send it to us, so we can include it in the press gallery.


http://www.teamsaluki.com/albums/Tea...2_Wheels_1.jpg


We had many text messages and e-mails of support, as well as visitors to the bivouac and these were all appreciated in order to keep us motivated.

Motorsport is not the cheapest of sports to participate in and whilst we may have a superb team, we could not have achieved this without the help of our sponsors.

The buggy was fully branded in the Castrol EDGE colours, which was in striking contrast to the other vehicles. The Castrol EDGE oil performed extremely well in the conditions, so much so that we had a number of other teams asking us to help them with the lubricants, which we did. After all, this is marathon rallying at its best and you never know when we will need assistance ourselves.

Serck Services provided the cooling for the buggy as well as a support vehicle, generators and other vital equipment. One surprise product that they did provide was WaterWetter, which helped reduce the water temperature – this worked so well that we also offered the product to other competitors who were experiencing cooling issues.

Gulf Agency Company (GAC), our longest serving sponsor, provided the logistic services with regards to bring the buggy into the country as well as additional spare parts just prior to the event.

Trading Enterprises / Honda provided a Honda MR-V (powered by a 3.5L V6 V-Tec engine) as a press vehicle which performed admirably given the large distances it had to cover. I wonder if they spotted the fact that we swapped the engines over?

And last but not least, Landmark Properties provided support with regards to allowing us to purchase additional spares to keep the buggy running.

Additional support came from Advanced Fibreglass Industries and Tyco International.

It was a huge effort made by the Team members and the Sponsors and a very big thank you goes out to all involved.

After all, if it was easy, everyone would be doing it!

Mark Powell
7th November 2007
www.teamsaluki.com

http://www.teamsaluki.com/images2007...msaluki022.jpg
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