The Peking to Paris Motor Challenge 2007
May 27 - June 30 2007
The Day Before Departure
One final day before departure. All cars have been going through the process of Scrutineering, having their technical specifications checked with the regulations, safety gear checked and medical equipment reviewed by the Team’s medics.
Time-cards are only issued once all the formalities have been completed.
Sweep-crews have had their mobile workshops stationed around the car park and have been busy with final fettling and last minute preparations, a number of cars have not built exhaust systems in accordance with the recommended notes sent out to help crews prepare, and as a result have called on the Team’s mechanics for last-minute rebuilds of the exhaust system.
Getting to the Shangri La hotel was not without incident and here’s just some of the work carried out…crews are hoping these are teething-troubles rather than anything more ominous.
Numerous crews had battery problems and required attention to electrics after weeks at sea. The 1929 Lancia Lambda of Leo Schildkamp from Holland had charging problems. Nigel Gambier’s Lagonda needed a jump-start and suffered petrol starvation…The Roy Williams Riley looks good, but needed help with a flat battery, and had to retard the ignition, attention to a sticking brake light being the smallest problem. Alan Grisay’s Chevvy Fangio Coupe had a bent accelerator pump rod, Garrick Staples and Jon Kennedy, from America, with a VW Beetle needed a push start to get going, Kevin Clements and Richard Newman also from America in their Chrysler Special needed help with some servicing, and the Bentley of Gordon Phillips had dirt in the petrol – this could be a common problem for all and we have only just started.
The big MG SA saloon of Harry Hickling has a totally different fuel-system to a bag tank in the back, and this caused a break-down getting to the hotel. It’s the modified items that always seem to give the most trouble….
Alberto Hodari and Harold Blumenstein in their ’37 Ford Convertible needed all sorts of jobs attended to, having crashed on their way to the port, a track-control arm and the tracking was sorted first to get the wheels pointing in the right direction, and then repairs to the front wings – and it was one of several crews without mud-flaps. Alberto reckons the large rubber mat in the hotel doorway might suddenly appear with large holes in it, right under the bell-captains nose, before morning.
Plenty of problems to keep the Team’s mobile-workshops busy all day. The standards of preparation vary greatly was their diplomatic way of putting things. Only hours to go now for the final countdown, and the dawn patrol up to the Great Wall at Badeling for the flagging off. After three years of organising and planning, the great day is now upon us, and the talking point now is the weather. Peking is very hot, bright and sunny. But we hear that up on the Mongolian plains they have had not only rain but a freak fall of snow, and, to cap it all, the rivers we all have to cross are still in full flood from the spring thaw.
Back in the car park, it’s too late to worry about a lack of ground-clearance.