The Peking to Paris Motor Challenge 1997
September 6 - October 18, 1997
Bulletin 13 - Back under canvas
Tuesday 23 September Katmandu to Kohalpur 498 kms
From fabled Katmandu down from the Nepal Himalayas to the East-West Highway, good quality road, smooth and quick, past jungle with parrots, monkeys, elephants - don't stop at the tiger warning signs! Camping at Kohalpur.
The field has been getting back into the swing of things fairly gently after two rest days in Katmandu. The roads have been of better quality than expected. Nevertheless, two cars have joined the retirements list - the Lux Rover (No 93) reportedly due to crew illness, and the Guliker Chevrolet (No 66) - no reason yet reported. The Lux Rover in particular was certainly a contender for overall victory and was running in a strong sixth place.
With the previous demise of the Matheson Rolls-Royce Phantom V, (No 42) Lord Montagu, hitching a lift since the breakdown of his own Vauxhall, found himself short of transport again. We do not yet know whether he is still with the rally, or whether he took the opportunity to fly back from Katmandu.
The Buckingham Aston Martin which reached Katmandu on the back of a lorry with the lorry's displaced passenger sitting atop the Aston's roof, is, remarkably, running again in 65th place. How the re-fabricated rear suspension will cope with Wednesday's rough roads remains to be seen.
There have been few other changes at the top of the field and the two Fords remain resiliently out in front with the tough little 2CV in third spot. The two older Ford Club Coupes have worked their way back to seventh and eighth respectively while the Dichtl Rolls Royce Silver Dawn (No 28) of similar 1950 vintage to the Fords, continues to impress in 19th place. From there it leads its class by a useful margin from the Jessen Bentley (No 8) which vies for pre-war honours with the von Schoonheten Railton, just one place behind in 49th place.
With a little over one third of the event now complete, tomorrow's route features the long-awaited river crossings and more very rough roads, so we anticipate some significant shuffling of the order by the time the field reaches it overnight halt near the Indian border where the hotels will be welcome relief after spending tonight under canvas again.
Penalties at TC5 Kohalpur (part 1) from first place:
Penalties at TC5 Kohalpur (part 2) from first place: