Ford’s baby goes global
Fiesta rises to the challenge on a trek around the world, writes Karla Pincott
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.