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Good evening from the coastal town of Geraldton. We are approximately 350 km north of Perth and settled in at the bivouac. The competition today consisted of short “special stages” (SS) – approximately 100 km total - as well as several transition stages. A "special stage" is where the competition happens essentially. The team ran into troubles midway through the stage when the insulation around one of the two mufflers basically had collapsed and clogged – causing the unit to become extremely hot and basically glowing when Josh was able to get a visual. After using one fire extinguisher, they made a wise decision to wait for the sweep to grab another extinguisher before continuing on. The team was down for approximately 30+ minutes but were able to pick off a couple trucks before the transition stage.
The second special stage was a short loop with many hard to see turns. In the first kilometer off the start, the team followed the deep ruts in the track, only to turn back as many teams had to do as well. Stories back at the bivouac confirmed that a majority of the field missed at least one or more turn. However, Josh reported that Thad did an excellent job navigating and we could tell from the in-car footage. There is no doubt that although he is new to it, he’ll make an excellent navigator for the long-haul.
The team is now working on the second muffler which was starting to develop the same problem as the left. Although the truck will be louder, the problem should be fully resolved. The H2 starts in 17th position tomorrow morning as we head east to Mt. Magnet. We have not been issued our road books yet, but will know the stages and distances shortly.