The Peking to Paris Motor Challenge 2010
September 10th - October 16th, 2010
OCTOBER 7TH, 2010
Tabriz to Erzurum
Gloomy News from the Frontline
We set off early for the Iran border this morning, and once a special track had been set up, things began to look up… cars were making good progress through all the formalities.
We said our goodbyes to Ramin and the lads from the Motor Federation who have been working closely with us on an almost daily basis for the past six months, they have done a magnificent job… and then we rolled through the first gate of Turkey.
Things were slow to begin with – just one person in a kiosk to process 200 plus people, and with a broken computer. Things improved after we suggested he moves to another kiosk where a computer was working. This is actually a big improvement on the first time the Peking Paris crossed this border in 1997, when Turkish officials had no electric lighting and dim offices were lit by candles in cut-down coffee tins and the odd huricane-lamp.
Trucks were parked up to enable the Peking Paris to get through, a shrewd bit of foresight on someone’s part. Eventually the formalities were speeded up and after 20 or so cars had gone through, the process improved markedly. From now on, border hassles ought to be a thing of the past.
The roads today were excellent and we all bowled along, swallowing up the kilometres with relative ease. All that is except Car 48, the big Chrysler 75 of Michael Thompson and Andrew Davies that has developed a serious-sounding engine noise, which might be a loose flywheel, according to Andy Actman. Simon Ayris and Bill Hitchcock are giving it some attention, the word is that it's possibly coming here by truck.
Although everyone is happy to be in a comfortable hotel again, where beer and food is readily available, there is an atmosphere of considerable concern among some competitors.
It’s nothing to do with borders or the massive distance covered... what is occupying minds most is that a good many cars – including the open cars at the front of the field today – were hit by stones lobbed by kids on their way home from school.
This has shaken several drivers. We have all endured a great deal on this event… and coming into Turkey nobody was expecting a greeting quite like this.
Naturally, the regional police have been informed and steps taken to ensure close policing of our passage for tomorrow – which is the longest day of the whole event, and with a string of Time Trials in the hills, on gravel roads, kick-starting the competition again.
But right now, a number of drivers say that’s the last thing on their minds.