The Peking to Paris Motor Challenge 2010
September 10th - October 16th, 2010
SEPTEMBER 19TH, 2010
Teel River to Khovd
The High Plains Drifter
Gerry Crown retained the lead in the Classics division today. He started the day with a comfortable lead over young Garry Staples Jnr. and Gernold Nisius in the VW Beetle Cabrio. While the sun was making up its mind what sort of day we would get as we broke camp at Teel River, these two were already turning on the heat.
Alas, too much red-mist in the drive west saw the VW sidelined with rear suspension bothers, something the Banhams were unable to fix in the middle of the desert, so it was destined to end the day on a truck.
Gerry Crown with Matt Bryson is a veteran of the first Peking Paris Retrospective of ’97, and Gerry is the only drive on the event to have tackled all three Peking Paris Challenges. He is listed on the entry list as a navigator. The reason for this perhaps needs some explanation. Aged 78, Gerry was considered too incapable, too incompetent, to qualify for a Chinese driving licence, so, he is listed as a navigator with Matt Bryson as driver. That gets round Chinese red-tape and since getting behind the wheel Gerry has clearly enjoyed proving to those in authority that they have got him wrong. He has been rallying since 1963, his first event being Australia’s prestigious BP Rally, driving an 850cc Mini, which ended in something of a disaster as he rolled it down a hillside. A minor diversion: Gerry was rescued by the legendary Gelignite Jack Murray, who towed the Mini for over a hundred miles through a forest, forgetting the Mini was there, and Gerry Crown reckons he is the first person to ever see 100 mph on the clock of a rallying 850cc Mini…certainly at the end of a tow-rope.
Long in the tooth he may be, but he seems to have the measure of the Peking Paris, although he fails to get the measure of this camping lark and reckons he is past playing Swallows and Amazons, so chooses to sleep in his car. He will no doubt sleep soundly tonight in the knowledge that he now has a 13 minute gap over the Turkish Team’s Anadol, now in second spot. Adrian Gosden and Andrew Honeychurch have no rear shocks on their Aston Martin DB5, but they are up to third in the Classics Category now. Greg and Liz Newton in a Holden are fourth, and the Sunbeam Talbot Alpine of David and Jo Roberts are fifth, despite a lot of sand somehow entering the sump.
We have driven another glorious day across tremendous landscapes, with two Time Trials for good measure. It suited William and Victoria Medcalf in their Bentley as they set fourth best time on the first Time Trial and second best on the second timed-to-the-second blast of the day. Top Vintageant on both tests was Steve Hyde and Janet Lyne in their yellow Chevy Fangio Coupe. Rudi Friedrichs and Lennox McNeely also had a good day and the Alvis is now 5th in the Vintageant Category, behind the Wilkinson’s Alvis.
The repair shop in the nearby town of Khovd is going to be busy on our day off tomorrow, David and Sarah Rayner had the subframe off the BMW Coupe this afternoon and trucked into town for welding up, in order to be first in the queue.
The Vauxhall Viva GT is on the back of a truck today, but is not alone, the Peugeot 203 broke its front spring for the third time today. There is welding equipment here at our riverside campsite – everyone is in good spirits.