Woke nice and early, fortunately before someone from our group of campers sounded reveille on their trumpet at about 6am! Once again we took off early with a warning that today's first stage (Class 4 for 66k) included a 20k stretch driving on gibber stones! These were not 'stones', these were rocks, sometimes more closely resembling boulders! What a stretch! I am amazed that we managed to get through it without losing at least one tyre! One particularly large one that couldn't be avoided did nudge our sump guard back a little against the exhaust, so the Kar now sounds a little louder than normal - but we knew exactly what it was when it happened as we had the same thing last year when we hit a particularly deep gutter. Nothing that needs fixing at this stage...the Kar has been running really well, although everything in the Kar has a layer of red dust covering it!
The first stage finished at Dalhousie Springs, a natural warm spring out in the middle of nowhere. The water was 34 to 38 degrees so many took the opportunity to have a dip in the warm water. It was then a short drive to the starting point for the second stage. Unfortunately in the middle of this short 9k transport was a massive patch of bulldust. Once again we got through it but many others didn't. We reversed back to where we could remain on solid track, hooked up three snatch straps and pulled out Kar 350 who was stuck right in the middle of it and had everyone banked up behind them. This time the Subaru saved the day and we proceeded to the start of the second stage arriving 7 mins after our scheduled start time. It was another Class 4 of 60k. Ken drove so hard to make up the time we had lost, we managed to still arrive early! The third stage for the day was a 107k Class 1 which finished with lunch at the Pink Roadhouse in Oodnadatta!
After lunch we started the final section for the day. A massive 242k Class 1 through the Painted Desert. Just to catch us by surprise, this stage included a 'secret control' which meant that somewhere along the way, our time was taken without us knowing, so those who drive very fast at the start of a stage and then slow down towards the end to make sure they don't arrive early, were caught out! So at the end of Day 3 we remain in equal 20th position overall with points lost based on 2 mins early, 3 mins early, 3 mins late and 5 mins early!
At dinner in Coober Pedy the official photos were taken of the groups based on years of participation in the Kidney Kar Rally. Ken received his 6 year badge and I received my 5 year one. But the highlight of the night for us was the announcement that we had won the award for the best presented Kar! So thrilled and thankful to the Kidney Kids who provided the paintings, Katie at Kidney Health Australia for her help in getting those paintings to us and providing photos of the kids, our designer David who put in so many hours transferring all of those images into a design for the Kar, SignPro in Ringwood for their fantastic work and Luke who worked to make sure it all happened in the end! Thank you all!