The Peking to Paris Motor Challenge 2007

May 27 - June 30 2007


To Potsdam

More than a few dramas today…

More than a few dramas today…Tom Hayes books out early from the final Time Control in Poland, and instantly collects a bucket of penalties which is sufficient to cost him his class lead… so the Riley from Australia of the Wilkinson’s regains the class lead, who find themselves projected up to fourth overall, above the Studabaker in the Vintageant Category. 

It just goes to show it’s not over until the fat lady sings, and she is only just revving up. Tiredness and fatigue are setting in, and the route still catches people and twists the final results.

In the car park, other dramas, car 23, the little Rover 12, has lost its clutch. Peter and Betty Banham with Richard Pybus is trying to effect some sort of rescue, but its been a time consuming job so far as to get the gearbox out, first they have to pull out the floor, and to get the floor up they find its been glued with rubber to the chassis rails which is proving frustrating. There is no spare clutch in the box in the back – can it be fixed? It’s too early to call but soup and dinner on a tray is being carried out across the car park to the night-shift.

Alongside the Rover is Jonathan Turner and the ailing Itala… now with wheel bearing problems on the rear axle, and as this is written Robert Kitchen is sweating over the vice on the rear of the tail-gate of the Banham’s workshop sawing away at a large washer which is actually just a lump of pipe, the top of an axle stand now being trimmed down for this donation. Its just another example of the makeshift ingenuity that is going into the fettling to ensure cars get to the end of another day… there is still 1,000 kilometres to go.

Today was an interesting day, with big crowds around an arch set up by the national motor club for mid-day time-control. We drove the morning through interesting countryside over a varied course with no shortage of variety, a village bakers was visited for elevenses, and despite the polish family not understanding a word of English still managed to put a selection of pastries in a bag. We ran in company for a while with the big blue Delage, the Argentinian Chevy Coupe, and the Dutch singer… but after very swift formalties crossing the border into Germany, the roads changed markedly and we found ourselves on our first stretch of motorway since China.

The weather was cold and blustery this morning when the Veterans were leaving, with the occasional shower, but brightened up this evening when German television teams turned up to film our arrival into the Dorint Hotel here in Potsdam.

The Knox is still running on three cylinders – remarkable – the solo drive of Jan Verbril continues, the Itala of the Ayres sounds much as it did in China and still spews out a gallon of oil onto the lobby steps when it pulls up at the end of the day…

Tom Hayes is now off to the bar to drown his sorrows, after a few beers he will not doubt be helping the Wilkinson’s celebrate.

We have knocked off a total of 600 kilometres today. Koblenz and Reims beckons.



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