9th May 1970 50 years ago. Timeline: Sao Paulo 0100 – 1300 hrs
Daily Mirror London-Mexico World Cup Rally.
It was very busy outside Sao Paulo and we had to refuel at a petrol station where Castrol employees enthusiastically hand pumped the fuel from huge drums. The traffic was quite bad on the outskirts of this huge city and we were glad to get through to the relative peace and quiet of the countryside.
There was now a long drive through the night and it was about 3 in the morning – we were desperate to relieve ourselves, and not a light to be seen in any direction. We agreed we would just have to stop and ‘stamp around to scare the snakes’ as we had been told by Special Tuning. Half way through, suddenly there was the sound of a comp car and headlights racing towards us – we prayed they wouldn’t stop. But the car screeched to a halt past us, reversed smartly, and a familiar voice said – “do you need help girls?” It was our teammates in the other privateer Maxi – Prince Michael in fact. We just said ‘push off….sir” – to which he just laughed and drove on. He remembers it to this day I am told.
We were next on to Ventania and Prime 6 – the Parana Prime – in daylight thank goodness. 125 miles in 1hr30m (88.3333mph!!! – Puff does not go this fast!!. I don’t think anyone actually cleaned it either…the best being a 15 min penalty, but I think they were 2 hours over? Not sure now!!).
Run on red-earth roads, with 2-way traffic, worrying loose plank bridges and fast and twisty all the way – not really a Puff sort of stage! Apparently 10 cars went out here, so we were running in approximately 30th place I think.
It was in the jungle that we got lost – at least we could not work out where we were on the red mud roads and began to think we were lost. Suddenly round the next bend we saw a small truck with a logger and his family. We stopped and with best pidgin English, much gesticulating and finger waving, he nodded -got back into his truck with his wife and 2 small children – and led us out of the jungle to the point we wanted so we were back on track. Much hooting and waving – and we were on our way again.
On to the Rio Grande Prime shortened by half and now only 120 miles
This post is a part of a series of posts in which Bron Burrell recalls her 1970 World Cup Rally.