There is nothing wrong with your instructions in the first post. I simply couldn't be bothered to go and check them when I first landed on Pomeche (removing the headset and wandering upstairs to the other machine...)!And re: the direction, it's basically West, pointing at heading 270° on the start line.
Haven't managed to make it to the end yet, and I'm completing the first stage in around ten minutes currently. I do like the hot SRV pickups from in the ravine, though - don't know why, but it is really satisfying to be collected by a hovering ship.
I'm down to two SRVs as I did pop one on a fall. Almost lost another, but managed to regain control just in time. I think I should have brought more.