The Peking to Paris Motor Challenge 1997
September 6 - October 18, 1997
Bulletin 03 - Some early retirements...
Monday 8 September West Baotou to Yinchuan 594 kms
"For most of the day the road follows the broad Yellow River valley through the characteristic semi-desert landscape of Inner Mongolia."
The 91 cars still running in the Peking to Paris Motor Challenge are now spending the night in Yinchuan after a long, eventful section. It has been another very hot day for the runners. Several competitors have been held up with boiling radiators even though the run past the Yellow River has been all on flat ground. "The big climbs are yet to come," reflects a concerned rally chief, Philip Young...
The black 1930 Stutz of Canadians, David and Adele Cohen has suffered major electric problems and according to reports, the diagnosis is "grim". The Mk7 Jaguar of Brits, Derek Radcliffe and Nigel Webb, broke a suspension arm on some rough ground but this has been welded up and they are running again with fingers crossed. However, they have lost time and must work hard to stick to the schedule from here on. Apart from these two, four other cars have lost time, having missed time controls, but are still running.
Lord Montagu's 1915 Prince Henry Vauxhall, the car that led the rally away from Peking, has now become one of the first retirements. Serious overheating eventually became terminal and the car is being taken back to Peking for shipping home. A disappointed Lord Montagu is continuing the event in the back of the Rolls-Royce Phantom.
Chinese police estimate that more than 1 million spectators have watched the rally pass on its way through heading to some of the more remote areas of China. More than 1100 Red Guards have been out on the route today trying to control the massive crowds.
The sheer size of the crowds has proved a major problem for many competitors - just like a 1950s Mille Miglia - with cars trying to force apart excited onlookers who only move back at the last minute to let the cars through and then close ranks again, forcing the next car to repeat the procedure. This has caused some major concern from the police and several time controls have been cancelled to allow for the delays, turning instead into passage controls - to make sure that all competitors are following the correct route!
For these reasons it hasn't been as competitive a day as had been planned, but with the running of the event being monitored very closely by the authorities, caution was of the essence to avoid a return to enforced convoy driving.
Tomorrow the rally heads off to less populated territory and will revert to the planned schedule. A worried rally chief, Philip Young, says:"lots of cars are too overloaded and will not make it out of China because advice has not been followed; more casualties are expected I'm afraid."
The current results show 77 cars all together 'clean' in 1st place with a nominal 'penalty' of 3days 0hr 0min, representing one day's penalty for each day of the event elapsed so far.
The following cars have incurred actual penalties:
|64||D Ratcliffe||(Jaguar MkV11)||3d 1hr 0m|
|15||D Saunders||(Packard)||3d 5hr 0m|
|29||R Hellers||(Sunbeam Talbot 90)||3d 5hr 0m|
|89||AA De Stegge||(Citroen ID)||3d 5hr 0m|
|6||D Cohen||(Stutz)||3d 9hr 0m|
|61||P Noble||(Bentley)||3d 9hr 0m|
|The following cars are officially retired:|
|18||F Noz||(Ford Model A)||Engine problem|
|33||J Netto||(Ford Model B)||Engine problem|
|1||Lord Montagu||(Prince Henry Vauxhall)||Overheating|
There are also 8 cars running in the Touring Category.