It seems that we still have a lot to learn about this form of rallying. To some extent it's possible to ignore the set piece events and simply treat the whole affair as a great drive with superb organisation. however, some of the off road events are a hoot whilst the tricky timed map reading events can be simplified if you focus on not getting lost and let the timing take care of itself by driving moderately. That ensures a reasonable score and because lots of people foul up or break down you start to creep up the rankings.
Here's a few more pictures of the event:
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.
Monday, 20 April 2015
Sunday, 19 April 2015
Three hours later we arrived at Gleneagles on a flatbed transporter courtesy of the RAC. The finishing cars were being piped across the line but our photo was taken with us at the chequered flag on foot and carrying our bags.
Still the idea of the rally was to test us and the car and that we have done. Now for some whisky.
Saturday, 18 April 2015
It's my turn to drive and to be honest I find it necessary to make several trips to the loo beforehand - nerves have taken hold.
The structure of each day involves driving some public roads interspersed with various driving tests either on private land or along quiet C roads. Unless you execute these tests to within a 98% tolerance (or so it seems) your score goes to maximum penalties. Richard and I have collected a lot of maximum penalties.
After coffee we go spectacularly off route because we weren't told about a change to the directions. As a result our chances of winning have vanished...
Northumberland and the Scottish Borders provide some amazing scenery and beautiful empty roads. With the hood down and sunglasses on it's a magical ride. All along the way people are out to see us go past. Whole schools came out on Friday to cheer us and everywhere the cars raise a friendly wave. There certainly are some wonderful vehicles on the rally but although ours is humble it looks good in a photo and plenty of people come and chat to us about it.
The day ends with a burnt out clutch, which is patch repaired in the car park. It's not clear whether we should limp straight to the Gleneagles or try to complete the rally.
We ended the day 57th, which wasn't so bad and we should have been 47th because we got a 10 min penalty which we don't think was correct. In fact we could have been 37th but we got a 10 min penalty that we could easily have avoided. However that's what this trip is all about - learning by mistakes.
We have I think made every mistake possible. We've gone left when the instructions said to go right. We've said go left when we meant to say go right. We've said keep it to your left when we meant keep it to your right. We've said, "mind the back of that Bentley as you are reversing....oh shit (well I expect the insurance will pay)". We have had a gold star for our Regularity tests. And we have the maximum penalty.Although we had our problems lots of people didn't make it at all.
The day finished (after exchange of insurance data with the dented Dutch Bentley owner) with having the brakes fixed and an attempt to fix our Brantz tripmeter, which wasn't showing interval distances. This took three hours and in the end it was realised that we could just use the Brantz a different way and achieve the same result. By this time dinner had finished and we still had to go over the maps.
Scenery was to die for and sunny all the way. What a great country Britain is.
Thursday, 16 April 2015
There's an enormous amount of information about the rally and how it works. More than we can properly take in. On the five mile practice route we took the wrong turn twice and arrived a massive two minutes late (not because of taking the wrong turn but because of traffic problems). It looks set to be a series of massive cock ups tomorrow when the race starts.
The sight of over 100 beautiful cars is quite wonderful and what's more so is the noise they all make - sublime. Some of the cars here are worth hundreds of thousands of pounds and are immaculate. CLM 570 looks positively scruffy next to them. On the other hand there's no point in taking an immaculate car across MongolIia
Monday, 13 April 2015
Simon at RPS has volunteered to give us a lesson on how to use the Brantz tripmeter installed in the car. We nod along but I'm pretty sure it's going to be a major bog up when the time comes on Friday.
We now have two plastic boxes of parts and equipment in the boot, a fuel can, a first aid kit and the jack and its already full up. Not sure where the kit is going to go on Peking to Paris.
Bright red seat belts have now been fitted, which look very cool.
20th March and time for a proper test run in the car. First we practiced changing a wheel - lucky Steve at RPS was on hand to help us...
Then we drove across to Burford and took in 100 miles of Cotswold countryside including as much variety of road condition and test of map reading skills as we could. The car was absolutely fine, mostly running at around 86 degrees (it can run hotter than normal because we've got Evans coolant in the radiator instead of water. It did go over 100 on one of the hill climbs we inserted in the route but seemed okay. Its a very smooth ride and the engine seems very happy. The steering is still boat like but you do get used to it. The drum brakes are something else - best to change down in to second gear and let the gearbox do some of the work.
the car is certainly good for a steady 60mph and we briefly hit 70 but I'm not sure it would cruise all day at that speed.roadholding on the new tyres (commercial van spec) is good in the dry but might be trickier in the wet.
the only problem we had was that our instruments failed but RPS has now fixed that.
Professional photographer and mate, Tim Graham followed along in his AMG Mercedes and took some great photographs. As you can see the car is wearing its Flying Scotsman plates and numbers.
Photo left is of the new rear suspension, which looks like it will take Mongolia in its stride.