The Peking to Paris Motor Challenge 2007
May 27 - June 30 2007
The High Plains Drifters
Another 430 kilometres and we close more pages of the Route Notes Book as we inch our way to the Russian border. It’s been another incredibly tough, rough day of relentless pounding over rocky and corrugated gravel tracks as we head westward with the sun our backs this morning. Today’s objective has been to cross a vast plain, the High Chaparral of Mongolia.
We have arrived beside another river but the bank is full of mounds and scattered stones so pitching tents is even more tricky, outside a town called Khovd. A number of “walking wounded” snatched the benefit of a helpful small garage who could turn their hands to anything, including the making of a universal-joint from a sold lump of rubber.
Cars who dived into the dusty courtyard and watched welders putting battered metal parts back together again include Car 25, Brian Larkins and Robin Long in the yellow Sunbeam 16, having shockabsorber mounts welded, Car 63, the white Ford V8 of Hugh Brogan and Paul Stead needed a radiator split brazing up, neither of these gremlins are “stoppers” and crews planned to catch up later.
Also having attention from this workshop is the 1903 nine-litre Mercedes of Tim Scott, needed a hole in the petrol tank sorted to regain fuel pressure, car 29, Barrie Frost’s Chevrolet, car 72, the La Selle of Marc Rollinger, the Bentley of Jorg Lemberg, Richard Newsman’s Chevy was having its shockabsorber mountings welded, and Nigel Gambier was sorting the spare wheel mounting of his Lagonda.
During the day we came across the two La France monsters in the Pioneer category, and after a spot of fidgeting with the magneto sorting advance and retard, the red La France of Malcolm Corrie was on its way again, the Citroen roadster of Alan Crisp and Chris Mower needed help with a broken track-control arm but this was fixable by the roadside, but more worringly the Lancia Aurelia needed a tow into camp having lost its oil, and the big Rolls of the Ferranti’s was limping as the crew had donated their coil to someone else, now they needed one.
It’s been a long hard day crossing a vast deserty scrubland ringed by snow-capped mountains – for those not nursing sick cars or worrying about their preparation given we are not yet out of Mongolia its been a stunningly beautiful day.
Harder than anyone could have anticipated…tomorrow we reach our last night in our tents, as we are aiming to stop just short of the Russian border