After 12 months of frustration and bitterness David Morley and Paul Watson finally laid to rest the demons of last year’s Transsyberia Rallye.
The amateur Aussie duo, which officially entered this year’s 7,200 km off-road challenge as “Team Oz – Unfinished Business”, kept their Porsche Cayenne, bodies and minds intact to score an impressive 13th outright from a field of more than 30 entries including a number of professional crews.
“I don’t think I will ever do anything as special as this again in my life,” said Morley at the finish in the Mongolian capital of Ulaanbaatar.
“Watto (Paul Watson) and I had a resolve to finish this event. Not finishing was not an option after last year’s disaster. It was sweet at the end to peel the letters ‘Un’ from the decals on the car that now reads ‘Finished Business’’.
“But what a way to spend a couple of weeks!
“I saw terrain that had the appeal of a war zone, I have back soreness consistent with being trampled by horses, I ate camp food that glowed in the dark and I smell like the inside of a Sydney cab on a 40-degree day.
“Next time I’ll bring the missus – it would have been the perfect romantic getaway.”
The #22 Porsche Cayenne S Transsyberia SUV made it through 7,200 kms and 14 competitive stages from Moscow to Ulaanbaatar – experiencing everything from monsoonal rain, blinding dust and heat, teetering across mountain ridges, ploughing through mud holes, top-toeing across river crossings, high-speed drifting on flat desert plains and avoiding everything from a burning car to vultures big enough to lift their Cayenne off the ground.
The 2008 Transsyberia Rallye was won by the French team of Christian Lavieille and Francois Borsotto; with crews from Spain, Germany, Portugal and Russia completing the Top Five – all in specially prepared Porsche Cayenne S Transsyberia SUVs.
“There were times when things looked like they would go horribly wrong,” said Paul Watson, “but Morley and I just kept urging each other on. It was a test of will as much as anything else. I hate to think how we would have felt if we didn’t make it to the end.”
Last year Team Oz failed in Mongolia when Watson hit a ditch, badly damaging the undercarriage of their Cayenne and fracturing two vertebras in his back.
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