The Xtreme challenge Portugal is a 4 day event held in Caminha, North Portugal. The event starts Thursday evening with a show stage, 2 cars go head to head over natural obstacles.
We were told we were starting in lane 2 so we walked the stage and picked out the routes we wanted but unfortunately as we lined up we were told we were in lane 1 which we hadn't walked - we were driving the stage blind!We started the stage, went through a water hole, then went over an off camber bank where we managed to roll the truck resulting in a DNF for the first section which cost us dearly.
Day 2 comprised of 8 special stages to be completed on Friday afternoon all these were set over natural rock and gulleys with no obvious winching points, and they were all against the clock. Stages 1,2 and 3 went with no dramas and putting in some cracking times, stage 4 was going well as we tried to drive the last side slope we managed to roll it costing us valuable time and a penalty for breaking the tape. The rest of the day's stages went very well getting the quickest time on 2 of the stages. Friday nights stages were Friday's day stages in reverse. We managed to do 7 of the 8 stages putting in some respectable times leaving just 1 stage to do on Saturday evening.
Day 3 there were 20 stages to be completed over the next 2 days. Some of the stages were also done in reverse giving us a total of 35 stages to be completed in 2 days. Walking some of the stages you could see this year they'd gone the extra mile to make it xtreme. When you've got to go over boulders the size of your vehicle you know it's going to be tough, but with some careful planning you can always manage to find a route. Some of the stages were short quick stages and some were long and hard technical winching stages. Things were going well upto stage 9 where we were using the rear winch as a mid winch but the stress was too much and snapped the rope resulting in a gentle roll on to my side but we still managed to secure a time. At the end of the day we managed to complete 14 of the stages.
Saturday evening all we had to do was one stage which we hadn't completed Friday evening. This stage went well securing us with the fastest time for that section. Day 4 knowing some teams had done well on Saturday we knew we had to push extra hard to finish in a good position. We went to a different area on the site to start with and these sections looked insane. Knowing that we had to man up and complete the section, things were going well for a change but unfortunately we ripped a tyre open on section 12 and destroyed a prop shaft UJ on section 14. As we pulled out our spare rear prop we realised it wasn't the right prop - it was my old spare!We had to take the end off one and putting it on the damaged prop costing us valuable time, but still meant we could carry on till the end.
Final stage of the day was the show stage which is the opposite lane to Thursday night, which we'd already walked and pre planned which paid off - securing us the quickest time with 7 seconds! Unfortunately we didn't make the top 10 we finished 11th overall out of 29.