Day 0 Southend on Sea to Goodwood Circuit

It’s a funny thing having to set off from your home on a journey lasting over 2 months and in the case of Alpha Squad and “Mickey” the Micra, some 18’000 miles including the return trajectory through Russia. Even with the practice packing we did a couple of days before, setting up for the final pack was even more challenging. With hearts and minds set on Goodwood we set off – leaving key kit behind in classic team fashion. A quick stop off at Halfords later to buy Eurolites for the headlamps, and a charger port adapter then we were off.

Heading down to Goodwood quick saw the demise of our first piece of kit – the tarpaulin. Having found its way out of the ratchet straps, it then ballooned out down the motorway and once the first thread gave way, the whole thing ripped itself apart. We’ve kept it was sake of some (see- not very much) protective cover as the rally unfolds.

Arriving at Goodwood at ~7pm, we found ourselves a nice spot for the tent, and with a quick fix to one of the tent poles we set up for the night and had a walk round to meeting and greet with the other ralliers. Some key pointers included *not* purchasing the Carnet de Passage through the tour guide recommendations or 3rd parties, instead just purchasing at the Iranian border. Also the sheer amount of kit that people never used – the veteran teams there were quick to note what was and wasn’t essential.
Walking over to the main base of operations on the site, we quickly discovered that registration was long since passed (closing long before we even arrived). We had to instead get up for crack of dawn for morning registration and make sure we were cleared for the rally start. With that, we headed to bed, and did our best to find comfort in the humidity.

We bought some kit, and sent our passports to strangers.

About time I posted on here.

So there was a considerable sale happening down at a large trekking supplier. Taking a not-inconsiderable list of things to look out for, and a quick revision of the website the night before, we hit the shop armed with voucher, discount card and a loose budget.

Roughly £700 later out of the Scrooge McPayne Investment fund, we got ourselves:

  • A 4-man, 3-section tent with central porch area
  • 3 tri-season sleeping bags
  • 3 self-inflating sleeping mats
  • 3 large foldable chairs (with a special one for Rhys)
  • 3 mosquito nets for the non-camping accommodation
  • 3 60(+10) litre bags for personal clothes and kit, separable sections for day-bags
  • An array of pots, pans, mess tins, water tablets and food related tools
  • A sizeable knife and fire-starter pack

So all in all, not a bad haul. We’re now juggling a few suppliers to see what they can offer in terms of tools and other equipment, so there’s still much to be sourced. At least now we have a roof over our heads and something to cook roadkill with.

Paperwork has been the bane of our existence of late; visas are confusing beasts and very much a case of each country having their own “thing”. If the UN wanted to do something great, I tell you – unifying visa processes across the world would make life for a lot of rally teams and travellers so much easier. Iran, surprisingly has been one of the simplest and smoothest visa applications, compared to the 500 acres of trees that had to be cut down for Uzbekistan’s requirements. Never the less, it’s all done, and now in the lap of the visa-gods to decide if we are worthy of processing.

More mechanical-related updates to come, and be sure to check out our introduction video, finished this week by Thomas – should be posted somewhere close by.

Taa-taa for now.