The Peking to Paris Rally is a recreation of the 1907 challenge issued by Le Matin, "Is there anyone who will undertake to travel this summer from Peking to Paris by automobile?"
The 2016 version will follow a route of 13,695 Km (8,510 miles) and take 35 days. We are travelling in Rhubarb and Custard, a 1936 Buick. We know nothing about cars or rallying.
Tuesday, 21 June 2016
Rally Day 10
The roads were bone shakingly hard and several people have loose fillings for which our bottle of oil of cloves was much in demand.
Rhubard and Custard, now lying 26th, is in good shape. The interior carpet was soaked through after the several river crossings we have undertaken. A race official with a tow rope was stationed at the deepest of them and his services were in demand but we made it safely over.
We still have oil spilling from our filter and are losing about 10% of engine oil a day, which is a nuisance but not fatal. It doesn't matter how much we tighten the offending screws or apply plumber's tape to the thread, the leak is persistent.
The passenger side front wheel is loose in a way we don't like. Received wisdom is that it's a worn king pin but there's no possibility of a replacement so we just have to keep an eye on the wheel bearings.
Others are not so lucky. Another two cars rolled today and at least one of them is on a flatbed. Here's some pictures of the flatbed roll call:
Yes, even one of the Toyota Hi Lux 4x4s used by the organisers is on a flatbed.
The road was littered with broken shock absorbers. A typical camp conversation runs something like, "We lost a rear shock absorber and a front spring and our radiator is cracked but we are in good shape." These people are unhinged.
Richard and I are definitely softies - here's Matt in the Leyland P76 straightening out his wheels at the end of the day - he does this every evening.
Heather, who was the navigator in the rolled Volvo, is being flown out of camp and back to Ulaan Bataar to have a leg injury looked at. A member of the Russian Auto Club has taken her place.
Tonight's camp is at 2000m and it's very cold. The Doc has a hot water bottle and is handing out a supply of hand and foot warmers. I'm going to bed with my hat on.
Kim Bannister, Clerk of the Course, has just announced that we've reached the end of Mongolia and we will enter Russia in the morning. A huge cheer erupted in the mess tent - crews shook hands and hugged and slapped each other. The ordeal is over.
Today's 350 kilometres was on rough, stony roads up and down beautiful mountain passes. For me it was the best scenery of the trip so far. In the far distance there were snowy mountains whilst the ground around us was close to desert. In between were green, black and iron-red peaks inter coursed with wide spiralling rivers. In some places the landscape resembled the Nile with sand giving way to greenery in the space of just a few feet.