The second day of the Cyprus Rally 2010 didnâ€™t start well for me.
My plan was to go to the dayâ€™s first stage â€“ SS9 Alassa 1 â€“ but it didnâ€™t work out that way.
Sure I got there, but it wasnâ€™t for me.Â I went to the village of Agios Therapon.Â After the lack of crowds the day before, I wasnâ€™t prepared for the throng I found.Â
The stage was tarmac, albeit with a tight hairpin bend for added interest.Â But the crowds and the marshals were going to make it difficult to get pictures.Â What to do?
I planned to go on from there to SS13 where I knew thereâ€™d be some great positions, but if I waited around Iâ€™d need to get out fast and get there in a hurry.
Decision made, Iâ€™d scrub SS9 and go straight to SS13.Â This turned out to be my best decision of the rally.
Getting there was another story.Â On the face of it, it was about 30km across some winding mountain roads.Â In fact, it was nearer 80km of winding mountain roads because so many were closed for the rally.
SS13 finished at Kelokedara, and all roads in and out of the village were closed.Â I had to get through the village somehow to get down into the river valley near Panagia tou Sindi.Â
The answer?Â Easy â€“ this is Cyprus after all.Â I stopped by a Policeman, and asked if I could go the wrong way through a part of the special stage to get to the track going down.Â And he of course agreed.
It was a fun drive down, bumping over the rocks to get to the dried up river valley at the bottom.Â Another good bit of 4×4 fun.
Once at the bottom, all I had to do was drive up the dried up river bed until I found the special stage.Â I laughed out loud as the big Nissan 4×4 bounced from rock to rock up the river bed â€“ Land Rover drivers eat your hearts out!
I found the stage at a truly wonderful position.Â A tight right hand bend with a bump in the road led onto the causeway across the river.
The action was spectacular.Â You could see the cars for miles as they dropped down into the river valley, crossed the bridge, and headed off up the other side.
There were also a good variety of positions to get different shots.Â I played safe with the early cars, but then got the wide angle lens on to try out some much more creative ideas.
You do find yourself getting very close to the action with a 17mm lens â€“ health and safety would never allow that in the UK.Â Haircut anybody?
All great fun and over way too soon.