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Epic Journeys Down Under

Epic Journeys Down Under


By Simon Penn


For RacingThePlanet: Australia 2010 favourites Stephanie Case and Salvador Calvo Redondo, it was never a matter of whether they would make it to the start line, just a matter of how.

In the wake of the Icelandic volcanic eruption which threw worldwide air travel into chaos, the pair went to hell and back to get to Kununurra.

For Stephanie, it took five days to make the trip from her home in London, including a 13-hour taxi ride from Paris to Madrid that cost 4000 pounds.

“It’s been pretty difficult to get here,” says Stephanie, who was the first woman across the line in RacingThePlanet: Vietnam 2008 and finished Namibia in 2009 with a fractured foot.

“It was five days of not much sleep, being cramped in tiny spaces, eating at gas stations and out of vending machines – just what my coach told me to do,” she laughs.

The Canadian native caught a train from London to Paris, a taxi from there to Madrid, and then flights to Qatar, Singapore, Darwin and finally Kununurra.

“For me, not coming was not an option, it was just a matter of figuring out how,” she says.

“It’s definitely going to be worth it no matter how the race turns out.”

She says that after putting her heart and soul into seven months of training, and overcoming significant injury problems, nothing could have stopped her getting to Kununurra, but she is modest about her chances of victory.

“I try not to think too much about my final race performance,” she says.

Salvador, from Spain, won RacingThePlanet: Vietnam 2008 and Namibia 2009, and describes the trip to Australia as the worst of his life.

He took three days to reach Kununurra traveling from Madrid via Doha, Singapore and Perth.

But Salvador says he never considered giving up and not coming. “There was no doubt it was going to be worthwhile,” he says.

Salvador is wary of some newcomers in the Australian event and will have to overcome a niggling hip injury if he is to add to his list of RacingThePlanet victories: “But there’s always a chance to win.”

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