Day two of this year's Icelandic Saga began with a repeat of the Test that closed the first day's competition, but all minds, competitors and officials alike, were focussed more on the day's weather forecast, with many a sun-dance being completed after the deluge that had blighted the first round of competitive action.
As it was the rain hadn’t cleared completely, but there was change in the air, with patches of blue-sky filtering through the grey and even the threat of sunshine. It was an improvement and all of us were finally treated to some of the scenery that we had come here for as today’s route took us into the more remote regions of the Island. We were headed towards Eyjafjallajökull, the volcano that had caused chaos in 2010 when its eruption grounded flights around the world, but sadly the cloud obscured it from our view. The same cloud though was providing dramatic skies that filtered the ever-stronger sunshine into thin fingers, lighting up the landscape in dramatic fashion.
Today was only a half-day of competition, with the afternoon set aside for the crews to indulge themselves in the landmarks and the activities on offer in the area, from Glaciers to Skidoo driving, this is a rich tourist area that, in the coming days, will seem a long way behind as we head further into the wilderness. Before that though there was a mornings worth of Regularities and Tests to conclude, which seemed to advance at a pace, although perhaps that was an illusion created by the lift in spirits that ran in tandem with the lifting cloud.
Today’s Regularities were more challenging than the ones that eased the crews in yesterday, and whilst they will never be extremely difficult tests of navigation (there are a limited amount of roads in Iceland), the ever-changing road surfaces, constant undulations and unpredictable wildlife put the drivers through their paces. Change seemed to be the theme of the day and as the results from the morning tumbled in there was a change in the leader board as the Whyte sisters regained possession of the top spot that had been relinquished during yesterday afternoons action. Owen Turner and Rachel Vestey followed suit back into second in the plucky mini, with yesterday evenings leaders Rod Hanson and Clare Grove dropping to third, albeit with very little daylight between them.
As the crews hurried away to spend the rest of the day doing as they wished, it fell to Clerk of the Course, Nick Reeves, to summarise the day:
“It’s great that we have got over the massive handicap of yesterday’s weather, in fact, we’ve even seen blue sky today! Everyone, teams and marshals, seem to be in better spirits and it’s great that the competitors have some time built into the schedule to enjoy some of the wonderful activities in the area as well as the driving, looking forward to tomorrow.”
You aren’t the only one, Nick. With tomorrow’s route taking us into even more secluded Regularities and some great Tests to boot, it’s likely to be a memorable day of competition.
Photos by Will Broadhead