David Wells Will Compete In The 2018 Great Race

This week I was pleased to get news that David Wells’ entry into the 2018 Great Race has been accepted.  David was an important member of our Support Crew at the 2017 Great Race.

David Wells (right) With Harald And I At The 2017 Great Race

I first came into contact with David about 2 years ago when he sent me an email saying that he was interested in entering the Great Race and was wondering if I would be his navigator.  David outlined his rally experience, which is long, mostly involving the famous East African Safari Rally.  I urged caution on David’s part as the Great Race is probably at the opposite end of the rally spectrum from the East African Safari Rally.  I suggested that he become more familiar with the Great Race type of rally, perhaps by entering a regional rally, before he enters the Great Race.  As David lives in Ontario, I put David in contact with Harald von Langsdorff, who also lives in Ontario to find out more about this style of rallying.  David, a knowledgeable, professional mechanic, began to assist Harald with the preparation of Harald’s Mercedes-Benz rally car for the Great Race and become familiar with the Great Race.  This resulted in David joining Harald and I, first at the Penn-York Rally this spring (where David worked on a timing crew as well as assisting us) and again at this year’s Great Race.  This gave David a very good working knowledge of the Great Race based on first hand experience from all sides.

The picture below shows David working on the front brakes of Harald’s Mercedes-Benz 350 SLC at the 2017 Great Race.  David is an excellent mechanic in all types of machinery.

David Wells Hard At Work On Our Car During The 2017 Great Race

At this time David does not have a suitable car for the Great Race.  He had hoped to use his Mercedes-Benz 280 SL, based on the similarity provisions in the Great Race rules, but that request was not successful.  David has his eyes on a Volvo 122, as these are cars that he prepared for the East African Safari Rally in the past, but the car search is still an unfolding story.  Based on what I know about David I am sure that he will have a well-prepared car in time for the 2018 Great Race.  I am very pleased that David will be competing in the 2018 Great Race.

If you have any questions or comments about this post, then please leave a comment below or you can send me a private email message at the following address: shanna12 at comcast dot net

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1 Response to David Wells Will Compete In The 2018 Great Race

  1. An April update by Peter McGuire (navigator) for “Team Phoenix”, our entry into the 2018 Great Race (as Car 129): David acquired “Phoenix”, a 1966 Volvo 122S in Dayton Ohio last September. Basically a rolling body with enough bits and pieces to make a complete car. Having been off the road since 1983 as a much deferred restoration project by the previous owner, “Phoenix” has truly arisen from the ashes. Now after just over 6 months the car is rebuilt and basically complete, safety tested and ready for performance charting. Our first outing will be the NERC “Round the Erie Canal” event in early May. As Steve points out, the inspiration for “Phoenix” was the 1964 122S David prepared for the 1970 East African Safari (Driver: Lyn Robinson, Owner / Navigator: Chrissie Michaelidis). This is his description of that event: “The car was a 1964 122S with B18 (1800cc) engine and four speed manual gearbox, very plan and simple. When Chrissie bought the car it had already done two or three Safaris so we had quite a bit of work to do including a full mechanical overhaul and seam welding for the entire car. We made a lot of effort to waterproof all the electrical components especially the ignition, mounting all the wires as high up as possible. We wrapped the starter completely and sealed it up and the coil was inside the cabin, under the dashboard. The fuel tank and diff were vented higher than the door handles to protect against water intrusion. By the time water gets up to the door handles the car is afloat already!! Actually, one of the driving strategies was to open a door and let the water in to a certain point as if a car is trying to float you lose traction. So, with water inside you get traction back (have to remember to open the door to let most of the water out again!). There were also large drain holes in the floor with rubber flap like check valves that opened to let water out. This usually leaves a thick slimy layer of mud on everything…. That year the Rally went from Kampala, Uganda, through large parts of Kenya, attaining altitudes of 10,000 feet, then to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania at sea level, back through Kenya and on to Uganda beside Lake Victoria. It was one of the longest Safari rallies, something close to 3600 – 3800 miles, not counting the almost 1000 miles it took to get to the start and back from the finish. Their accumulated lateness was something like 11 hours 10 minutes making 5th place after a tie breaker sorted out by accumulated penalties”.
    Compared to the Safari the Great Race is obviously a more relaxed event, taking place on paved public roads in daylight with strict adherence to speed and traffic laws – I doubt we will see any elephants or giraffes en route! But then again the car we are entering is 52 years old not 6!
    Peter McGuire Navigator Team “Phoenix”.

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