After SS2 the officials are split in two groups and assigned to alternate stages. Our group sets off for Barmer to setup SS4 while the other group manages SS3 and then reaches Jaisalmer for SS5 setup, and so on. Dessert storm is known to work on such a tight plan.
Leg 3, SS4 – Mad Max
Don’t know why Max turned insane, or for that matter, who is Max anyway! It could be the competitors or the officials who are mad enough to put themselves the stresses of desert rallying, madder still to do it over and over again. The villagers where we are posted are perhaps also wondering the same. They have gathered near us to watch the action. They have accepted our madness with keenness and are bestowing warm hospitality on us.
This stage closes earlier than any other till now. It’s just 2330hrs. We are just a couple of hours away from a good night’s sleep. Just as I am thinking about the comforts of the heritage resort in Phalodi, the convoy stops. Someone has a bright idea – to make tea – in the desert, by the roadside. I guess they don’t want to spoil themselves and have chosen to defer sleep.
Portable stoves, plastic cups, milk powder, chatter, incessant chatter.
The convoy moves on and reaches Phalodi at 0400hrs.