The Peking to Paris Motor Challenge 2010
September 10th - October 16th, 2010
SEPTEMBER 21ST, 2010
Khovd to Border
Our final full day in Mongolia, and the scenery has been breathtaking, one of the finest days rallying since we left China. The punishment has been relentless, and the Volvo PV544 of Nicholas Pryor and Lesley Stockwell are limping into camp with axle failure.
Several crews are staggering on to the Russian border as “walking wounded”. We know that Car 6, the big La France, is on a truck, so it car 3, Daniel Ward’s 1919 Lancia Theta, The Shooter’s Ford, Car 29, lost its gears today and is on a truck but spares are lined up later down the route, the Renault 4CV, Car 89, had a temporary fix of its front suspension but it didn’t last long. The Vauxhall Viva GT has suffered electrical problems, diagnosed as a failed condenser.
Michael Thompson and Andrew Davies - Chrysler 75 Roadster - splash through another river crossing
The handsome lead achieved by Gerry Crown in his Holden was maintained today, despite the fact that Gerry has finally decided that driving one-handed is just too much. He has his left wrist in a splint, and he is on doctor’s orders to give the arm maximum rest... he reckons its just an old war-wound of too much gearchanging in too many past rallies, so today, he handed the steering wheel over to young Matt Bryson, his navigator.
We suspect this meant that Matt had to work the GPS, on top of driving. Matt looked as if he was under pressure when we pulled our tent-pegs out of the frozen grassland first thing this morning. The son of John Bryson, top Australian navigator who sat alongside the likes of Andrew Cowan to win the Southern Cross Rally more than once, Matt was realising he had rather a lot on his shoulders.
However, he rose to challenge by setting the best times on all three tests, and delivering an extended lead in the Classics Category for the Holden over the second placed Anadol of Ongun and Tokcan. This unusual car was made in Turkey with the help of Reliant – it has an “over heavy” Reliant chassis, according to its driver, a fibreglass body, with a rear design similar to a Gilbern or Alfa GTV, and a Ford Mexico Kent engine of 1600cc.
Today’s final run to our camp site consisted of several glorious valleys with far reaching views, some horrendous roads, and five river crossings. The final Time Trial had a maze of roads wandering off at angles to the main track, and at times, looked totally confusing, as nothing was very clear which was the main track….the navigators for sure decided the best results on this one, as it took an agile ability to mix trip-meter with Tulip road book and GPS while trying to read the road to chose the best course.
Tomorrow, we are off to the Russian border. Another country, and another stack of adventures in store, now awaits. At 9.0pm, all are accounted for, except that the Rolls Royce of Richard Auchincloss is on a tow-rope with Simon Ayris in attendance, and the Volvo is awaiting a similar rescue. Their dinner is going cold…