On the 14th of October it was again time for the annual DoDa
Of all the rallies in the 'circuit' of the Dutch Mini Seven Club, this is one of my favorite.
It's a nighttime rally using the 'dot-arrow' system, driven on
small country roads and partly on dirt roads.
Even when the weather is fine, like it was this year, it's alot of fun, but when, oh joy, it also rains and the dirt roads turn into muddy roads, the Mini-trashing part of me comes out even more.
As last year Andy in Belgium had agreed to be my navigator for this rally again. He came down (well, up actually :) to my place in the afternoon and after hanging out for a bit and getting some fish and chips without fish, we drove to a meeting point closeby. There we met some other Miniacs who'd also be attending the rally and together we drove down to the event. Along the way we sort of lost the others somewhere (wonder why that was :), but after a small detour ended up at the start almost at the same time.
This time around we decided to for once read the instructions carefully, as we at least wanted to finish and didn't feel like being disqualified again. The instructions proved to be straight forward; find some small signs on the side of the road and write those down on your sheet.
The rally itself was very straight forward. A bit to
straightforward for my liking. Although you have ample time to
finish, I do enjoy to keep things going. At times this meant
overtaking others in the grass next to the road, but this only
contributed to the fun. On those parts where we couldn't overtake
I switched off my headlights (these can be very irritating to
those in front of you), but in order to still be seen (black Van
driving without lights in the dark :), we turned on my orange
flashlight that was stuk to the roof on the inside instead of on
the outside. Very 'Twilight Zone' :)
We didn't run into any trouble but were able to help another participant a bit with diagnosing a stuck fanbelt and a dead battery as a result of that.
Half way, at a manned checkpoint, we'd only seen two signs though, our guess was we must have missed a couple. During the rest of the rally we also saw one other sign, probably because we were focussing more on driving/navigating then anything else. Consequently we arrived at the finish way to early with a largly empty sheet. As we saw no point in waiting till our 'perfect finishtime' came up,we decided to drive a round a bit more.
At a certain point we found ourselves back at the mid-way checkpoint and decided to do the 2nd half again, but this time at real speed :) And so we did. We even did the very last part about 4 or 5 times, but this didn't help in locating any of the orange signs that were supposed to be there. At a certain point though (as I already knew my way around by then) Andy decided that the Dutch licenseplates were 'orange enough' so started noting down all the letters found on those. Needless to say the sheet simply wasn't big enough :)
We finished in 'perfect time' and after hanging out at the bar for a bit, chatting with the other Miniacs (yes, mostly about Mini's :) we learned that of all those that had finished, we had finished dead last. What a surprise :)
In short; we had a blast and a good laugh or hundred, very likely to be repeated next year...