We rose with the expectation that by this afternoon we would have picked up the car, sorted out all the jobs we needed to do on it and be ready for tomorrow's signing-in. Well, it didn't work out that way!
After several delays, due to customs clearance problems, the pick up time was put back from 1.30pm to 3.30pm and then finally 5.30pm. We went from one Mumbai dock gate to another trying to find where our cars were being released. The Indian agent who was helping with the customs clearance didn't seem to know and in the end we walked to the third port entrance gate and found some of the cars parked amongst a huge crowd milling around in the area in front of the gates. There was no security and the cars were left with their windows down and unlocked. Our car was not there, but then we saw it being towed out of the port. It turned out that the batteries were flat and it wouldn't start!
We had several attempts to jump start it using Bob Howells' Landcruiser, but to no avail. We couldn't leave the car by the gates, so it was towed by Bob to the main road, about 200 hundred yards away. The locals were very helpful and a repair man tried to start the car with batteries he had collected on his bicycle, but without success. In the end we decided we needed to buy new batteries and, leaving Wendy, Thelma and Mike Johnson with the car, Bob Howells drove me to a garage that the Indian agent had said sold batteries. When we got there they didn't have any! In desperation I called another one of the competitors, Richard Smith who also drove a Landcruiser, and he offered to lend me his batteries to get the car started and then drive to our hotel. So, leaving my flat batteries with the garage to re-charge, we headed to where Richard's car was parked. We unbolted the batteries and back to my car we went. Now it was getting dark and driving in Mumbai in the rush hour and in the dark is a pretty terrifying ordeal. Cars, bicycles, motorbikes, pedestrians, trucks and even children sleeping in the gutter at the edge of the road, makes driving very difficult and dangerous. Bob negotiated all these hazards magnificently and we soon arrived back at my car. A few minutes later the batteries were installed and the car started and we drove to the hotel and parked up for the night.
What a start to the tour! Tomorrow I will return Richard's batteries and hopefully buy two new ones. If I can't locate new batteries I'll try the re-charged batteries and hopefully they will get us going again.
After all these problems I was reluctant to go to the Bombay Gymkhana for a buffet supper which HERO had laid on for us all. In the end we went and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.
Tomorrow we sign on to the event and then we have the car checked over at a scrutineering session held at the hotel. I need to sort the battery problems out before I will be able to do that.