Colin Clark’s Roma diary: Smells, sounds and muck

Cows came up a lot this weekend in Rome. Not only from Craig Breen, but in the DirtFish camp too...


We’ve had many discussions in the DirtFish chariot (our fabulous Hyundai Italy-supplied Tuscon) this week. Some, I could share with you, but others you really wouldn’t want to be party to. But this morning’s topic of conversation was maybe the most bizarre one yet.

David, myself and Heikki, the cool cameraman – he’s redeemed himself since he came out as a air guitar aficionado on our recent trip to Finland for World Rally Championship testing – were trekking back over the hills from the opening stage this morning.

We’d watched the first 15 cars through and were heading back to the chariot when something really quite unfortunate happened. Both myself and David managed to walk through a steaming pile of alarmingly fresh cow poo. I don’t know why, but cows seem to have become a recurring topic of conversation this weekend.

We obviously did our best to remove as much of the offending material as possible from the soles of our almost matching sneakers – but as we fired up the chariot to head back to service it became increasingly obvious that one, or more than likely both of us, hadn’t done as good a job as possibly we should have at contaminant removal.

The smell made that very obvious.

And this is where our cerebrally challenging discussion, some might call it argument, really kicked off. You see, I’m a bit of a country boy at heart and I find the smells of the countryside really quite homely and comforting. And there are few more comforting smells than those created by our bovine friends.


Rallying's back after months away. Great for the soul, but not so great for soles, it transpires.

Photo: FIA ERC

David’s response to this was, and I almost quote him word for word:

“A poo, is a poo, is a bloody poo! And there’s nothing good about poo on the soles of your shoes.”

Now, I have to say, I firmly disagreed with my learned colleague’s argument. You see cows only eat grass, so all that we had on the soles of our shoes was liquid grass, and there’s nothing offensive about grass is there?

The discussion raged backwards and forwards for a good 10 minutes until the unsettlingly quiet Heikki killed the argument dead by cranking up the radio to full volume and blasting us with a somewhat appropriate ‘Mad World’ by Tears for Fears. Thankfully we both got exactly what he was saying!

Anyway, dropping the cow theme but continuing the music theme, did you know that Heikki the cool camerman was once an internationally famous DJ? OK, I might be overplaying his part a touch here, but he definitely spun a few disks in his time, and a club in rural Lapland thought he was good enough to reward him for his services. I’m genuinely jealous of this boy’s many cool talents.


Apparently Andrea Adamo likes a tune or two. Is this Dani Sordo showing him how to throw down some shapes?

Photo: Hyundai Motorsport

So, sitting in the Hyundai service area late this afternoon, working on the day’s video edit, I just happened to mention this to the lovely Italian lady who’d been looking after our hospitality all weekend. Her face lit up. Turns out she’d been asked only 10 minutes earlier by the boss – that’s Mr Adamo, by the way – to organise the after rally party in Alba next week. But she has no idea about music. So being the caring team player I always am, I volunteered Heikki’s services!

I’m told that Mr Adamo is a man who enjoys throwing shapes to some banging 1980s tunes every now and again so the pressure is very much on Heikki, our man of many talents. I suggested that you can’t go wrong with.a bit of ABBA, maybe some The Communards and a sprinkling of A-ha.

For the second time today I got a thoroughly unimpressed look from the almost always unflappable Finn.

Anyway, it’s been a great few days in Fiuggi, now it’s time for a quiet beer or two while I search YouTube for a fool’s guide to being an Intentional DJ. Wish me luck!

Words:Colin Clark

Photos:FIA ERC, Hyundai Motorsport