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Syrian Desert Rally - April, 2000

(click on any photo for a larger version)

At the invitation of the Syrian Automobile Club, ssome Lebanese offoaders and I went to test the roadbook for the first ever off road rally in Syria thanks to a nephew of President Hafez el Assad. I entered the Hummer as one of the three pace cars which open desert tracks in advance of the competitors. They were quite impressed by its easyness and cruising speed, and going fast we made even enough time to stop to make some pictures of roman ruins (in Palmyra).

A lot of modified Range Rovers broke front wheel hubs swivel-joints (6 bolts sheared) and I had a few bolts and nuts in my toolbox, so eventually it was repaired but they were out.

One did jumped and did nice wheeling on one wheel, which just could not take it. Electric cables did not like each other. Brake line of a Cherokee was removed by a rock, pedal to the floor...

I think the Syrian drivers will enter a Range Rover rented from Belgium (ex Dakar team). Our Lebanese guys are just afraid of beating the nephew of Assad and ending up somewhere. The competition will take place on 7-9 May next. There is fortunately no category yet for trucks otherwise I would have entered the race, against Unimogs or Zils. We will be on the Syrian and Lebanese TV too. Claudia hopes to get a ride on a Syrian airforce Antonov chopper to see the race from above (no dust).

Next report after the race.

René Milas