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.
Saturday, 25 June 2016
Rally Day 14
And God knows we needed help. Either side of us were cars 82 and 105, a BMW 2002 and Datsun 240Z. Both were washed before arrival which apart from making them look better made them easier to work on. Their crews obviously knew their way around a garage and professionally and instinctively used the ramp and power tools. All their kit was beautifully packaged and labelled and some even had the PtoP logo on it. They popped off suspensions, manufactured parts, cleaned their tools and interior and drove off while we still inspecting the fuel filters (again).
Alex, who rides dirt bikes and likes to drink, took me off to some kind of motoring Aladdin's cave to buy oil:
We also bought a Lada badge to stick on Car 95 - the DB5 that now has Lada suspension. The guys in the Lada shop thought this was very funny and gave me a special price.
Back in the workshop Alexy's girlfriend had called him home - 'why was he messing about with cars on a Saturday?' - or something like that. But the work continued. Track rod ends, wheel bearings and oil were all changed.
What are you doing this evening I asked the team? "Drinking", was the reply. That's Russia for you.
Eventually we were finished. Alex turned the key on the Buick and it ran like a dream. Big hugs all round. We signed our empty can of Halfords Classic Motor Oil. I signed Alex's dirt bike. They refused money but we pressed some Scotch and cash on them to help the evening go well.
After a full day in the workshop I was shattered - how do these guys do it? Many thanks all of you if you are reading this.
I gave the Lada badge to Jamie Turner. Let's see what happens.
Today is a rest day - some bloody rest!
We needed to find a garage to get Rhubarb and Custard running smoothly. To their credit the PtoP organisers have somehow linked up with local workshops and we were very courteously led to Apex Service Garage where Alexy, Alex and their team of friends, onlookers and car nuts helped us with the car.