The Peking to Paris Motor Challenge 1997
September 6 - October 18, 1997
Bulletin 19 (Day 30) - Highway to Hamadan
Sunday 5 October Esfahan to Hamadan 500 kms
Today's route begins to take us away from the desert into a more agricultural area. Through the town of Khomein, home of the Imam Khomeini, to Hamadan, one of the oldest continually inhabited towns in the world. A favourite retreat for Iranians during the hot months, Hamadan, at 1750 metres, can be quite cool and windy.
There is little of note to report from today's run across Iran, on good roads in reasonable temperatures. Road signs are a welcome novelty for the competitors after three weeks of 'mystery junctions' and road splits that sometimes called for the toss of a coin to decide the way forward.
Roby Hellers' Sunbeam Talbot (No 29) has now switched to the touring category, boosting the numbers of runners in that class to 13, from the initial 10-strong contingent. All are still running, with Jonathan Lux at the head of group, currently navigated by Lord Montagu, whose own Vauxhall was one of the earliest retirements.
His Lordship is sitting in for David Drew who flew back to the UK for medical treatment, but is reported to be heading back to catch up with the event. There being only two seats in the Lux Rover, Lord Montagu will need another berth and this may be at hand with the re-emergence from retirement of the Matheson Rolls-Royce Phantom V No 42) in which he occupied the back seat across China.
We also understand that the Clark/Hughes Buick Sedanet (No 25), which seemed to have succumbed to its persistent rear bearing engine oil leak, refuses to lie down and is currently in bits and having life breathed back into it, so it may yet be a welcome arrival at the finish ramp in Paris in two weeks.
The Dorey/Dorey Morris Minor (No 45), which stopped three days ago with a holed piston, did in fact manage to reach Esfahan - on the back of truck - and repairs are promised, so the little machine may yet be back in the hunt, albeit heavily penalised.
The Surtees/Bayliss Jeep (No 97) remains in the lead at the end of day 30, making full advantage of the slightly easier schedule laid out for the pre-1950 cars. The Thomas/Zannis, 1950 Ford Coupe (No 23) still lies in second, and less than half a minute in penalties separates the next half dozen cars, so there is still much to play for.
Tomorrow is the last full day in Iran, and sees another section of good roads and green countryside.
Penalties at TC44 Hamadan (part 1) from first place:
Penalties at TC44, Hamadan (part 2)