Category: PEKING TO PARIS 2016

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Paris! We made it.

Hi all we have made it to Paris yesterday afternoon just after 1pm following approx. 14000 kilometres and 36 days on the road from Beijing.

Firstly I must apologise for being a very pore blogger this trip. On past trips I’ve managed to post at least every couple of days. This trip however was very different in that most of the time has been driving all day and getting to the nights accommodation in time to check Penny, shower, eat then go to bed ready to do it all again the next day.

When I did the P to P in 2010 I was hampered with some small technical issues with springs and steering that caused us to miss parts of the route and some tests So on this rally we set ourselves the goal this trip to drive the total route and do all the tests along the way taking no short cuts, and for doing that we received a gold medal. This was a target that only about 1/3 of the starter were able to reach due to all sorts of mechanical issues along the way.

As a results of the our effort we managed to take out first in our class ahead of all the W O Bentleys and 12th in the pre 1941 Vintageant section which was won by Bruce and Harry Washington in a Chrysler 75.

The Route this year was very diverse with some fantastic stages through the Swiss and Italian Alps with amazing scenery and some fresh snow on one day.

The final day is toped of with a huge gala dinner and award ceremony attended by competitors, friends and family. Julie and I were honoured to receive the Sprit of the Rally Award for helping other crews during the trip.

Will we ever do it again? That’s something to think about and for Julie and I to talk about over the coming months.

I will post more photos and some story’s looking back at the past weeks while I’m in the UK fixing Penny ready for the Amazon in October.


Its Summer Now!

After it being cold and wet for the first week across Russia the weather has changed and turned very tropical for the last 2 days.

The run into the rest day at Kazan started with it cold and wet with some great tests on rural roads with ample red mud for everyone to have fun and make all the cars dirty. By the time we had arrived in town the sun was out and the temp in the mid 20’s, with the next 2 days clear sky’s and high 20’s for the temp.

The car park as usual was a hive of activity with all sort of repairs, mostly suspension getting sorted after the rough section of tarmac and dirt the previous afternoon. The jobs on Penny thankfully were only general grease and check and change a fuse to get the lights working.

After lunch Julie and I walked down town to visit the Kremlin in the centre of town. We walked the long way round along the boardwalk on the river front. This area is undergoing a lot of development work to make it a great recreational area for the city.

The Church’s and museum in the Kremlin were very enjoyable even though all the signage was in Russian. It was very funny to watch in one small museum this guide lady followed Julie around the displays telling her all about everything in Russian with Julie just nodding and giving agreement sounds. I think she thought that Julie understood her.

Yesterdays was a easy run through the country too a reception with the locals at Victory Park in Nizhny Novgorod. This park is full of machines of war celebrating some victory in some war???

Yesterday morning we had 98 cars start the day. This would be the most cars to start a day since leaving China. The Rolls Royce Phantom that caught fire in the middle of Mongolia is back after a mammoth rebuild job in UB before starting the long catch-up drive across Russia to re-join us.

Breakfast time is with us now so I’ll post this and get ready for another day on the road.

They call this Summer!!

We are at the halfway point time wise this evening so in 18 day we will be in Paris all going well and “Touch Wood”.

The last 3 days the weather has been fairly inclement and very cold for summer if travelling on an open car. The storms I spoke about a couple Blogs ago have not let up and just keep rolling across the steeps, and we are driven through some big ones in the last few days. Penny at least has a roof that we use to reduce the moisture we soak up. I do however feel slightly sorry for the people without a roof, however it was their choice to travel without a roof. Today we were been told that it only got to 10 C so we have been very well dressed all day. The weather for tomorrow is 19 C so it sounding better all ready.

A couple of days ago as we past through the town of Irbit, Julie and I visited a Motorbike Museum as it was the home of Russian Irbit Motorcycle production.

The weather today was kinder with a bit of drizzle from time to time but still very cold for a Queenslander used to Sunshine, as it was warmer at home today and it mid winter there.

Just after lunch today we had the most surreal experience. We got diverted into a town and onto the local sports field and treated like Royalty. As we entered the sports field with the road lined both side with locals we were directed to follow the running track around the outside and drive up on to this specially constructed podium above the crowd. We were then introduced to the 1000 odd people at the field in both Russian and English.

We left the town feeling quite overwhelmed by the whole experience for the drive into Perm for the overnight rest to be welcomed at the hotel by a similar number of locals and more cheering and music.

Yesterday also saw us cross the line that marks where Europe and Asia meet.

The True Heroes of the Event.

The true heroes of this rally are the Sweeps.

The sweeps are the 10 mechanics in 5 four-wheel drives that provide the mechanical support to the event. For the people with issues, these boys are like gods and angels.

The sweeps vehicles are loaded with their own personal tools and various parts and pieces they think might come in handy along the way.

The role of a sweep is that they drive the same route as everyone else along with also manning time controls early in the day. They then follow along behind tidying up the carnage at the back of the group, to help get people going again and driving to the overnight stop. If the repair job is one that can’t be done on the side of the road then you are advised to call for the truck to take you the overnight stop.

When the sweeps arrive in camp or at the hotel they get inundated with requests for help and immediately start work on helping and fixing cars welding and replacing head gaskets and patching broken sumps and the like; with this process going on until the early hours of the morning.

This group of blokes have the amazing ability to operate with very little sleep working until the early hours of the morning then on the road again at 7 with the rest of us to start it all over again – day in day out; for the twelve days until the rest day in Novosibirsk, where they were given the day off and everyone got help from the Russians.

So Guys; thanks for the help in getting us all this far. Without you, I think about 30 cars would still be in Mongolia somewhere!