In Glenn’s words today “it was a long, long, long haul to get through scrutineering”.

La Rural - Day 1 - snapshot from the Dakar official Facebook page

He called in at 1.00am his time on what is the morning of 31 December.

The bikes, the truck and the campers have all passed inspection now.

Brief outline of the last 24 hours:

2.00 am – Mechanics finish work and go to bed
5.30 am – Everyone up and on the move again
8.00 am – Arrive at scrutineering and queue up
9.00 am – Scrutineering starts
10.00 pm – Scrutineering ends
11.00 pm – Dinner then drive back to base
1.00 am – Everyone to bed, then Glenn makes his calls

One of the problems getting through today was the unfamiliarity with all the special navigation and safety equipment that must be fitted to the bikes. All of the new parts that GHR had engineered to suit worked well in the end, but the crew had anticipated some snags when fitting it all together. The issue today was the loss of so much time due to the strike and industrial action at the docks earlier in the week. What should have been going on then had to be done in the last day or so and the rest of the schedule leading up to today was turned upside down. Resolution of many of the problems fitting the required electronics took place in the queues for the inspection sessions today. Numerous one-off hitches emerged such as where to locate the beacons and flares securely on the machine. Each bike took about 3 hours to set up fully, but future events will only take half the time. 2012 will be a case of dropping the GPS and sentinel equipment in position and just plugging them in. The riders were understandably preoccupied with attending to their own bikes, but all team members and vehicles needed to be registered.

Tomorrow will be spent finishing off some of the remaining issues with the truck, completing the packing. Although the air-conditioning was supposedly working when the truck was bought, it no longer is. There may or may not be time to work that out. Some additional spares and wheels have to be dropped off with the event organisers’ freight service for carriage part way through the event. This service was pre-booked as a precaution before the truck had been purchased and the team knew exactly what they could carry with them.

The crew have already found that fuel supply is very patchy, and not all service stations can sell as much fuel as they want when they want it. Glenn will have to do the rounds of any service stations he can find to ensure that the truck has sufficient diesel on board. Local currency conversions are also difficult and credit cards are not always accepted. The ATM machines have a daily limit so the team will have to hunt continue to down a healthy supply of cash money. He’s also going to investigate roaming services for his Telstra SIM because the locally supplied Personal services are proving very unreliable.

He finished by saying they’re trying not to do the maths on their sleep quota at the moment.