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May 01, 2006

The 6th Hania Rally

Rally1 The three of us had a busy evening in Hania on Saturday. Our first stop was near the market to watch the start of the 6th Hania Rally. We'd seen it mentioned on "Crete News & Life" and thought it churlish not to pop along and have a look. It was due to start around 5pm by the market in town.

To be honest we didn't really know what to expect. I had visions of everything from the whole of the city being cordoned off for these souped-up monsters to rip through the streets, to it being three blokes racing their everyday cars. It turned out to be a mix between the two.

Rally3 The start line was on the pavement by the bus stops outside the market, and the pit area was at the front of the market. I'd guess there were about 20-or-so cars in the race - they were all properly kitted out with advertising and rear-spoilers to look like rally cars, and it was proper two man teams in overalls who were going to be propelling them around the island. The first stage was from Hania to Omolos, and there were three further stages due on Sunday.

There seemed much less crowd control than we would have expected at a similar event in the UK, and there was quite a crowd of mostly young men there, swarming over the cars, and generally getting in the way.

It was when the race got underway that it became slightly bizarre. Although there was a traffic policeman watching on, nothing was done to alter the regular flow of traffic in central Hania. These powerful machines roared down the starting ramp, well, some of them spluttered and back-fired their way down the starting ramp, and then swung straight into Hania's main street, and main Saturday afternoon traffic. Several of them immediately got stuck behind red lights, which kind of spoiled the whole 'race' effect.


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