The Peking to Paris Motor Challenge 1997
September 6 - October 18, 1997
Bulletin 18 (Day 29) - Enjoying Esfahan
Friday 3 October Kerman to Esfahan 675 kms
A long day ending in Esfahan one of Iran's most famous ancient places and beautiful temples.
Saturday 4 October Rest day in Esfahan
A day to take in some of the best sights of Iran. The Main Square, dedicated to the Imam Khomeini, is wonderful with two amazing mosques to visit. An opportunity to wind down and, just for a day, become a tourist.
High temperatures, hot winds and sandstorm have confronted the 82 cars still listed as runners in the Challenge as they make their way across enormous distances in this seldom-visited country which has provided a warm welcome for the overseas visitors.
The welcome extends even to free petrol for all competing cars throughout the event's week in the country. Local interest has been magnified by the fact that there are three locally-entered cars in the top eleven, where they challenge for team honours with various Fords.
The worst news of the day is from the Dutch/English crew of the 1951 MG YB (No 49), driven by Lisa Klokgieters, whose efforts at the wheel of the old car won the admiration of all other competitors and saw her up into 14th place yesterday. A holed piston has halted her progress and may yet mean complete retirement. However, James Wheildon, her co-driver, reckons that anything is fixable in this part of the world, so the event may yet witness another return.
Aan de Stegge's Citroen (No 89) is one car that has indeed returned from seemingly inevitable retirement and the affable Dutchman is reported to be 'raring to get going again.'
Just 49 cars remain on the same day in term of penalties with the Bayliss Jeep still in front after a day 'clean' like the majority of other runners. Accordingly, there has been little change in the overall order.
With 'merely' two weeks to go in the event, any hint of a feeling of 'downhill from here' is being tempered by the knowledge that the event still has some 4,000 miles to run. That distance takes in the mileages (and the roads) of several Classic Marathons, an Acropolis, a Mille Miglia and a Liege and more besides, so no-one should lose sight of the testing mileage that remains.
Penalties at TC40 Esfahan (part 1) from first place:
Results supremo on the event, Chris Bruce, was able to use the fax machine at the Abbasi Hotel, Esfahan, Iran, to send these results, thus giving his travel-stained satellite dish a rest and accounting for the improved quality, compared with yesterday's set!
Penalties at TC40, Esfahan (part 2)