The Peking to Paris Motor Challenge 2010

September 10th - October 16th, 2010




Ulaan Baatar - Rest Day

What a difference a day makes…


The Peking Paris has taken a breather after the battering of driving the roads to the capital… a chance for most to catch up on much-needed fettling. The garages around the city have been busy, the Mercedes dealer had 15 cars, and one motorcycle, dominating the workshop floor this morning.

Who will re-start tomorrow? Answer: We are not entirely sure, but most seem satisfied that they are up for more punishment. Two are going to be left behind to await spares, the black Chrysler of Bruce Washington with big-ends gone needs parts flown in, and the big Austin Sheerline of Norman Brice needs a crankshaft flown in, and he intends to wait a few days for this and play catch up somehow. We understand the Holden of car 101, Cecil Bird, is also waiting for engine parts.

The rest are lashing things together, re-packing, and will be at the Mayor’s parade in the centre of town tomorrow morning. Even the tiny blue Renault 750cc 4CV that limped into here yesterday on the back of a truck and looked like going no further is sorting its fuel-pump issues and will be back on the road tomorrow.

Tim Scott was beaming this morning, up early and sorting out his problems with the FN motorcycle, and reckoned “nothing was as bad as I had first feared.”

The initiative and ingenuity of the Mongolian workshop mechanics has helped solve most of the problems.

The weather was bright sunshine when we entered Mongolia, but today has been cloudy, and there was a shower of rain early this morning. The worry now is that this might be falling as snow on the higher passes as we head deeper into Mongolia on our Westward travels. It’s been a welcome day off, a chance to do some washing, sort the car, and go shopping for emergency-rations and in-car supplies…what a difference a day makes.

The organisation has not stopped, no rest for them - it’s been a manic day for the sweep-mechanics, with Betty Banham marshalling together steadily growing list of demands. Heidi Winterbourne spent most of the day running constant battles with a lethargic hotel staff to badger them into a minimum sense of service, after a few crews arrived to find that their rooms had at first been sold on to locals. Few see the cracks, however, and the spirit remains quite remarkable.

We are now off to a cocktail party with two hours of free drinks – that should ensure we start tomorrow morning with thick heads.




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