Day 4 for Double Trouble in the Outback Air Race 2001

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Oodnadatta to Broken Hill

Day 4 took us from Oodnadatta, via Marree, to Broken Hill.

The race leg was from Oodnadatta to Marree from a road (more like goat tracks) intersection between Algebuckina and a dam to the North Western corner of the Dingo Fence. The distance was 132 nautical miles and we nominated a leg time of 1 hour, 6 minutes and 27 seconds.

We carried a passenger, Koos Roetz, who is a camera man making a documentary about the air-race. His credits include being the cameraman on The Gods must be Crazy. We will do our best to live up to the escapades of that movie

He filmed us all the way including the count-down to the destination.

This time, because of our fast time, we were actually the first aircraft to arrive at Marree. Koos took the opportunity to film some cheats through the storm windows.

Eventually all the other aeroplanes arrived as well and lined up:

We went into town to have lunch at the community hall. Initially we were a bit shocked to see an ambulance parked outside the hall. Food poisoning flashed across our minds. But we need not have worried: It was the hospital auxiliary ladies that were preparing our cut lunches.

After lunch we walked around the thriving metropolis of Marree (population 80) and accosted anyone and everyone to fill our leg. Luck was with us and two tour buses pulled in, their passengers being somewhat bewildered as they became the target of our standover tactics. They could not move another inch until they had put something of a monetary nature into the leg.

After lunch, with the race obligations fulfilled, instead of heading straight to Broken Hill, we decided to take Koos for a scenic tour to Wilpena Pound in the Flinders Ranges of South Australia. It is a large natural bowl some 15 nautical miles long by 6 miles across.

It is named after the Wilpena river and its original usage as a cattle pound. Despite its enormous size it has only one access point. So at the end of the 19th Century the easiest way of keeping thousands of head of cattle together was to drive them into the pound and then have 2 people guard the entrance.

We then proceeded toward Broken Hill.

Near Broken Hill we formated briefly with Koot's normal team so that he could take some air to air shots of the other aircraft. Because Koos was sitting on the right hand side, Dirk, who occupied the co-pilot seat on that leg, took control and was very busy maintaining a safe distance from the other aircraft. The pilot of the other aircraft was similarly occupied. Koot, being the cameraman, however, kept on shouting "Move in closer, move in closer", something that neither pilot obliged him with.

After landing, tie-down, re-fuelling, we were picked up by a much more civilised form of transportation than at Oodnadatta. Instead of the police paddy wagon, we had a touring bus that was actually allowed to enter the taxiways. This meant that we only had to carry our gear for a short distance of about 10 metre. If you are scoffing at this, consider what we carry to the hotel every night: And this does not include Heather's birthday presents.

We arrived in a motel that was actually prepared for some 50 slightly (or, in our case, vastly) deranged aviators and handled the check-in in about 10 minutes.

After settling in we headed into town to harass the local populace to fill our leg. This was only met with moderate success as it was after closing time.

We had dinner at the Broken Hill Golf Course, where Judge Beau was in session again awarding penalties and other matters.

Highlights were:

The leg, of course, had to accompany us everywhere, and everyone was keen to be seen with it. Here you can see Felicity Brown, the publicity officer of the committee, trying to make out that she, and not Jens, has a lovely leg
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