The Peking to Paris Motor Challenge 2007

May 27 - June 30 2007


Perm to Kazan

Dawn Patrol

“Things can only get better,” sang Tim Scott this afternoon as he toiled in the sun with co-driver John Taylor. They had just experienced a rear tyre blow out at full cruising speed – which is quite an impressive rate of knots when the 1903 nine-litre is given an empty stretch of road. It was his sixth puncture since leaving Peking.

We came across the pair who are attempting to get the oldest car in the event to Paris on the dirt hard-shoulder at 3.30pm this afternoon. That’s exactly ten hours since they left Perm for the 700 kms stretch to Kazan – no other day is much longer than this, so a departure at first-light was the choice of those in the Pioneers camp.

The hotel at Perm housed the 300-bookings of the Peking to Paris without a cough of protest – it’s so vast this old concrete monolith left over from the days of Communist-control could have lodged and fed several long-distance rallies. The walls are built around a central courtyard, and the 1903 Mercedes, the Itala, and Daniel Ward’s Talbot were all parked together. At 5.30 am, the Merc coughed and spluttered into life…we know it was that time as the warming up procedure for this engine, when the rear of the exhaust is parked up against a wall, funnels the boat-like burble of this engine on tick over right up to the tenth-floor. We don’t need wake-up calls on this rally, all you do is rely on Tim Scott leaving miles ahead of the rest.

Daniel Ward had the Talbot running half an hour later, just in case anyone had gone back to sleep, and to cap that, the six litres of the Itala grumbled and splattered on the third swing soon after, David having hardly to put in much of a sweat to crank the starting handle round before the car was suggesting it was eager to catch up with the others.

When we talked with David Ayre at the end of the day,. he said the engine is running fine and he and Karen seemed no worse for wear after today’s long haul – he is at the back of the hotel at the moment in the company of The Goodwin’s who are servicing their Bentley.

It’s been a good run today, despite the mega distance. The roads have been a lot more interesting, surrounded by bright green scenery, rolling hills, blue skies in warm sunshine. As Peter Livanos summed it up at the mid-day Time Control, “We all were dreading today, but it’s turned out to be some pretty good motoring.”

Olaf Pothoven and Robertus Van Den Berg arrived in good spirits at the hotel this evening pleased to be running and enjoying a trouble-free day with their Maigrety Citrkoen – they have had a string of rear axle problems, having to have the axle welded up no less than five times….that sets a new record for this event.

One car that didn’t start out today was the Bentley of Richard and Jill Dangerfield – the axle has let go and they have decided that retirement is the better part of valour for the old girl, which will be trucked home. Bernard Gateau and Dina Bennett in a La Salle also were seen on a truck today. Today’s roads were a lot less bumpy than we have become accustomed to in Russia, but we hear that Charles Stuart-Menteth and Andrew May in their big Ford have broken a rear spring – help has been organised.

Tomorrow is a lot shorter at around 350 kms.



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