The Mission

The Peking to Paris Rally is a recreation of the 1907 challenge issued by Le Matin, "Is there anyone who will undertake to travel this summer from Peking to Paris by automobile?"
The 2016 version will follow a route of 13,695 Km (8,510 miles) and take 35 days. We are travelling in Rhubarb and Custard, a 1936 Buick. We know nothing about cars or rallying.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Navigation, Navigation, Navigation

Way back in July we took a day's instruction in rally timekeeping and map reading from Alan Smith - Author of How to Win a Road Rally, Unfortunately I misplaced my notes and so have only now been able to write the day up.

Alan certainly knows his stuff and is a patient teacher. He sat in the back of our family car whilst Richard and I took it in turns to be driver and navigator.  Alan has a pre-set route around the Chilterns and we practised reading OS maps, using Tulip diagrams and race timing.  It was hard - exhausting even.  Although we didn't make too many mistakes the level of concentration was considerable and I for one was shattered the next day.  We would also have gone off route on our first lap if Alan hadn't corrected us. His cardinal rule is "Route first, Timing second" - on the basis that you can't win if you are not on the route.

I'm not sure how much of this will stick.  Alan gave us a sample page from the 2013 Flying Scotsman timing sheets and looking at it now it's still gobbledegook.

The Work Begins

Another trip to Rally Preparation Services to see the Buick.  RPS has been working on cars for the Road to Mandalay rally and the workshops were just shipping these vehicles out. This made room for CLM 570 - our Buick - and we needed to sit down with the team at RPS to discuss how much work we wanted done.

Alistair is our project manager and he took us through the Road Test and Report prepared by RPS.  We told him that we didn't have an aspiration to win the Rally but wanted to finish in good order and enjoy the ride (beware any fellow competitors reading this as it may all be gamesmanship and bluff).  This dictated how and where we wanted to spend money.

Another Buick was in the workshop and we got a chance to look underneath it, which was most interesting.  The basic car is as strong as an ox but it's the various modern add ons that lie exposed to road damage.  Hopefully with CLM 570, RPS will ensure the car is protected from trouble - as long as we drive steadily.

Also in the workshop was Phil Garratt / Kieron Brown's Chevrolet Fangio Coupe, which has won the PTP twice. it still looks good even without most of the front end.