The Peking to Paris Motor Challenge 2010

September 10th - October 16th, 2010




Almaty to Shymkent

The Longest Day… (so far)


It’s been the longest day so far, with 730 kilometres covered since 6.0am this morning, a necessity because of the shortage of hotels that are able to accommodate the whole rally. 

We have now arrived in Shymkent, in the south of Kazakhstan, and the rally is split over two hotels in the centre of town. Tomorrow is considerably shorter, at just over 200 kms, but we have to cross the border into Uzbekistan to reach Tashkent, which will no doubt prove a time-consuming hassle. With two days of fettling during the Almaty rest-days, the majority started off today fighting fit, even Tim Scott on the 1923 FN motorcycle was chuffing well, setting out in darkness before everyone else.

Most crews have arrived very tired, but pleased with themselves, the crew of Car 6, the 14-litre La France, has had a steady run but they have had a string of suspension problems, all four springs have broken twice and one spring has broken four times. But today has proved to be a good steady run.

The route today has been all tarmac, but did include one horror section of some 20 kms of very vicious pot-holes, some eight or nine inches deep lined with very sharp edges, just the sort of thing that destroys wheel bearings if hit too hard. That has been the problem for the Bolsovers, in the Chevy, who spent the two days off trying to sort a wheel bearing problem – several cars suffered wheel-bearing problems through not being greased up before the start with water-proof grease.

Nigel Gambier and Hugo Upton were in trouble with their Lagonda, this time with spark plugs and engine-timing issues – the manifolds are lagged with asbestos tape and its only a matter of time before it follows the example of the Lagondas on the last Peking to Paris and has the manifold burnt through and full of holes due to the extreme heat of long hot days. The Lagonda of the Luns has avoided this tweak, but they are suffering with broken engine-mounts.

The ’39 Chevrolet two-seater open Special of Doug Mackinnon and Anastasia Karavaeva have had the advantage of the co-driver speaking fluent Russian, it’s been handy as the car has been in difficulties after the first day. After a broken axle, the car was in the Red Scorpion Garage in Almaty for a day of repairs but today the axle broke a second time, early on this morning, and the car now appears doomed.

Martin and Olivia Hunt in Car 63, a 1927 Bentley Le Mans, hit a lamb crossing the road, the sheep picked itself up and ran off remarkably unscathed, the car is going well but has suffered six punctures so far.

Nicholas Pryor and Lesley Stockwell in the ’62 Volvo PV544 which they were assured was prepared along the lines of the car that took Joginder Singh to victory on the Safari Rally has suffered more problems, this time more minor, however, having had to borrow some wire to lash up their exhaust… a lot of cars are now having exhaust problems through lack of flexibility, a basic rally-mod.

Charlie Bishop came into the hotel just as it was turning dark this evening feeling relieved, as the 1925 Vauxhall 30-98 has poor lights and was lost time during the day with electrical bothers, eventually sorted by Simon Ayris as nothing more tricky than a loose wire to the coil.

Marco Rollinger and Viviane Biel from Luxembourg have retired their ’27 Bentley Le Mans, and are now out of the competition, but are touring down the route to Paris having flown in their Lancia Aurelia B20.

Car 77, the Dodge of Vilnis Husko and James Kabrich has retired, and the crew are now travelling in the Subaru which has been bought by the crew of the Ford Model B, Car 33, who are are now touring down the route.

Tomorrow offers another border and another country.


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