Ford’s baby goes global

Fi­esta rises to the chal­lenge on a trek around the world, writes Karla Pin­cott

Herald Sun - Motoring - - News -

IF YOU were go­ing to drive around the world in 59 days, you prob­a­bly wouldn’t choose to do it in a cou­ple of small Ford Fi­es­tas.

And that’s ex­actly the point, says Jeremy Hart of the Ford Fi­esta global trek, which fin­ished in Syd­ney with a cruise around the har­bour on a barge.

‘‘It’s not that chal­leng­ing to drive around the world in a 4x4,’’ Hart says. ‘‘But to take a car that is es­sen­tially viewed as a city car on such a long drive out of its com­fort zone, that’s a chal­lenge.’’

Hart says while the epic ad­ven­ture largely went smoothly, there were some sticky points along the way. And some high points.

‘‘We didn’t have any great dis­as­ters or dra­mas and there were a few is­sues cross­ing some of the bor­ders in the Mid­dle East,’’ he says. ‘‘We had to change plans as we crossed from Greece into Turkey be­cause they wouldn’t al­low us to bring some of our film­ing equip­ment across the border.

‘‘ The long­est day we did was 1522 km across Saudi Ara­bia be­cause we only had limited visas to get through there. And that was one of the hottest drives at 48C, along with Death Val­ley in the US.

‘‘The most chal­leng­ing driv­ing was in Asia, first be­cause we hit a typhoon in south­ern China, and also be­cause there are a lot of peo­ple on the roads in that part of the world who are buy­ing driv­ing li­cences, not nec­es­sar­ily earn­ing them.

‘‘But we came through un­scathed . . . the cars did their job per­fectly.’’

Hart says any hard days were more than off­set by the long list of high points on ev­ery con­ti­nent.

‘‘ Some of the most mem­o­rable points were the artist in Texas who did the art on the dirt on the back of the car, and the belly-danc­ing cab driver in Is­tan­bul.

‘‘We got an ele­phant in North­ern Thai­land to write the name Ford Fi­esta on a piece of paper. The ele­phants up there paint. But we told them the day be­fore we were ar­riv­ing and in that time they man­aged to train the ele­phant to write the car’s name.’’

He says the trek across the Aust- ralian Out­back ranks high on the list of mem­o­ries.

‘‘Driv­ing across the Out­back is still a huge thrill, and Aus­tralia is a great kind of place to fin­ish.

‘‘We got the car painted by a cou­ple of fan­tas­tic in­dige­nous artists in Alice Springs, and we ended up at Daly Wa­ters, which was Aus­tralia’s first in­ter­na­tional air­port, be­tween Kather­ine and Ten­nant Creek.

‘‘But it was weird com­ing up over from Bathurst into Syd­ney and know­ing it was the fin­ish.

‘‘It was re­ally some­thing to see the top of the sky­scrapers in Syd­ney and then fi­nally the bridge,’’ Hart says.

‘‘The bridge was our of­fi­cial fin­ish line be­cause we started on the Pa­cific Coast in the US and we wanted to fin­ish on the wa­ter here.

‘‘It was quite emo­tional, ac­tu­ally.’’

On the move: the global trek tra­versed the Grand Canyon on its way to Aus­tralia.

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