The Peking to Paris Motor Challenge 2007
May 27 - June 30 2007
A day off today for the last spot of servicing...
A day off today for the last spot of servicing before we set out on the final 1,000 miles to Paris. There is a great spirit, with everyone enjoying a relaxing day and thinking of the party in Paris… but to get there, we have to cross the rest of Poland and Germany, with cars that have already chalked up five countries in the last five days.
In the car park this afternoon we found Gordon Phillips worried about a noisy cam in his Bentley so he had undertaken a partial engine strip down – it’s going back together and will have to remain noisy for the final stretch. The Dodge Roadster of Robert and Julia Francom has had a total gearbox overhaul having got here with two gears, fortunately he had carried some spare gears so now is back to three… the work was finished in a nearby workshop at 2.0am. We hear that the Holden from Australia has found an axle and will be running again tomorrow, having been out for the past two days with differential problems. The Frosts, also from Australia, still have piston problems are hopeful of a truck into Germany where they plan engine rebuild number three… car 12 found a brake shoe was down to the rivets, so some servicing was going on for the crew of the Essex, and the Derby Bentley of Richard Baker and Peter Boyland is having makeshift repairs to the exhaust manifold, which has broken at the joint with the exhaust – two bits of tin and a couple of jubilee clips are going to have to last for the next three days. Nigel Gambier rebuilt the starter motor of his Lagonda using some Ford parts, the girls in the Citroen are sporting two short strips of plastic mudguard, linings from truck wings, over the front tyres – the original Citroen wings were prettier but they fell off in Mongolia…. and the Lancia Aurelia has had a spot of welding to the front of the chassis-frame.
No great dramas today and everyone is looking forward to an early start.
On the wall of the bar is a list of the times for all the Time Trials for the entire event… interestingly, the best performing car has not been one of the classics, such as the Jaguar or Aston Martin, but the Chevrolet Fangio Coupe of David and Sadie Williams… and close behind him in second spot, is one of the smallest cars on the entire rally, the VW Beetle of Garry Staples, who has put up a most determined show of opposite-lock driving whenever it mattered…. his total times beat the Astons and the Jaguar 3.8. Does size matter? Gary has done it with 57 bhp. And does the size of the cheque book count? The Chevy was purchased for £10,000…. the VW Cabrio similar money.
There are three gold medals still at stake in the Pioneer Category, the two Ghosts and the Itala of Theordore Voukidis…. in the Vintageant Category, 13 are heading for a gold medal, and in the Classics Category, just eight crews still cling to a gold… with the final 1,500 kilometres now deciding the final outcome.
Reliability over the next few days will be the utmost of importance. Andy Actman who has been one of the time keepers since China but also involved himself in rescue-duties reckons there are many engines on their last gasp, and is highly pessimistic about some making it to Place Vendome – it’s now all down to the last few days.