Day 12 Race Report: Hellfire!!
Today was the toughest race day of them all. It was the most demanding of test for both car and driver. We started off on a rather somber note with a visit to Hellfire Pass Museum a WWII historical site focused on the Japanese attempt at building the railway line from Malaysia to Thailand and on to Burma using POW labor. It was also a good reminder of the senseless brutality of war and how evil we can get towards our fellow human beings.
We then headed out two regularity sections that can best be described as being designed by a sadist and the very reincarnation of one of those prison guards. The roads, if you can call them that, were full of potholes and out cropping the size that would in some cases swallow a tractor tire. We had over 30km of this rough terrain to race through while holding on to our dear lives and ensuring we reached each time control point at the allotted minute so as to avoid hefty penalties to your total time.
We saw four cars breakdown today and was told later there were many more. All victims of one of the worst roads we have ever driven and raced on. Avi did a masterful job of navigation and we once again did very well. However, the car took quite a beating. When we reached the hotel we found that both doors had gotten stuck as the frame of the car got bent while navigating those pothole ridden roads at high speed. The doors still work and it is a reminder to put a sturdier X-frame to brace the car at the bottom as well as a stiffening bar across the hood. Damage apart, it was one of the most exhilarating days of racing and we celebrated it with yet another visit to the food stalls next to the Bridge over River Kwai. One of the highlights of this stop was not just the bridge or the food but my view of a first ever temple of fashion with deities made out of mannequins.. I kid you not.
On the food side of things, we now have a formula in place.. Finish the last race ahead of schedule, race back the hotel to check in and then head back into the town to explore culture and cuisine. The key here is to ensure we only go as far as our bowels would allow us i.e. ensure that once we eat the yummy food, if the tummy gets growling, we should be in a position to pop in an Imodium and then race back to the safety of our luxury hotels and avoid the ignominy of a squatting toilet. You get the picture.