The Peking to Paris Motor Challenge 2007
May 27 - June 30 2007
To the Russian border
Where Eagles Dare
Our final day in Mongolia has been a cracker. We have had a short day of just under 200 miles of considerably improved gravel, through stunningly beautiful passes with hills and mountains capped with streaks of the last of the snows.
Today has been a terrific adventure for all, with numerous river crossings. Some get it right, jog across at walking pace and minimum bow-wave, and others plunge in with white-water up to the windscreen and everyone has been loving it.
The final run down to the camp – this is our last night in our tents and sleeping bags. Eating together from the 20-strong team of chefs of our mobile chuck-wagons with vegetable soup and pasta has been a grand finale.
As Daniel Ward, driver of the Veteran Talbot summed up at the end of it all: “This has been the finest day’s drive of my life.” The views of the long dusty road that snaked downwards across a vast grassy plain towards our camp was breathtaking and a complete surprise as we suddenly crested the final hillclimb – magnificent doesn’t sum it properly. Gerry Acher, who raised over a quarter of a million pounds for cancer charities as a result of his drive on the 1997 Peking to Paris, says today makes all the punishment of the last week worthwhile, “unforgettable, stunningly beautiful and to see all this through the windscreen of a classic car is something we will never ever forget.”
We are now in a grassy meadow with another bubbling brook and a stiff cold wind rolling down the pass rattling our tents. This is Eagle’s Camp, just outside Tsagaannuur, a dusty run down border town but with several workshops offering just the kind of facilities we need. One crew have had a new king-pin made and are mobile again, this problem has afflicted the two girls in the Sunbeam Rapier as a front wheel fell off in the final run in to camp this afternoon – Chris Elkins, travelling marshal, came upon them and has been able to fettle them into running again.
William Holmes and Malcolm Corrie have had problems with their La France today, gremlins in the giant chains that take power from a 14 litre engine to the back wheels, but it does not sound serious.
Australian champ Gerry Crown has terminal problems having smashed the rear diff into a rock and this has been one bash too many.
The sheet that follows this report is a listing of all the runners and riders as of yesterday and gives the situation on a car by car basis. It confirms all are known to be safe and well. Individuals and loved ones seeking news of an individual crew should telephone them direct using their satellite phone – not calling the rally-office. Every crew has a satellite phone, but communications have been very difficult in the last few days. We have been eight hours ahead of UK time.
We now head for the Russian border in the morning.