What is to come

Jonathan and I went to see Phil Garratt and Kieron Brown, winners of the 2013 Peking to Paris Rally in their Chevrolet Coupe.  Here are some photos they took of their journey, In a couple of days I’ll post some more.


The main road out of Peking


Wild Truck loading on the highway


Time Contol in the desert


Mongolian tracks


A stop in the desert


The Nomad crew organise the camp sites in the wild, here’s one of their Russian Army trucks






Arriving in Paris: Arc de Triumphe



Paris and the Place Vendome Finish.  It must have been very emotional.

Sahara Challenge Slight Return

Just got hold of Jonathan’s photos of our Moroccan tour. We’re kind of in limbo until the event starts so published some past photos to keep you all keen

IMG_0731 IMG_0733

Cordoba in Spain and the gorge below

IMG_0735 IMG_0742

In the hills after Toledo, Geen does look adventuresome and the views were every bit as good as Morocco’s.

IMG_0754 IMG_0771

Arrival Tangiers in the rain and number one claimed in the Rif Valley, truth be told this was the first time we felt it was safe to stop.

IMG_0780 IMG_0785

Valleys and our first sight of sand dunes

IMG_0799 IMG_0808

Cafe on the climb up the Atlas Mountains to the pass, The view from behind the Mercedes gives you a feel for how the plains are very flat and then the mountain ranges just go straight up

IMG_0813 IMG_0815

Trucks and S bends on the way up

IMG_0818 IMG_0819

Into the clouds and an unusual hazard given the grazing opportunities

IMG_0822 IMG_0836

Snow and sand, these two photos were taken 40 km apart

IMG_0837 IMG_0844

Hot in the plains but you can still see snow on the caps, Amazingly empty terrain at times

IMG_0845 IMG_0846

Scraggy roads and valleys, you can make out the odd oasis in the valley

IMG_0856 IMG_0858

Les Roches Peintes, Spot the 4×4 having quite an overnight in the forground

IMG_0865 IMG_0866

Our facebook friend and the mountains from the hotel in Marrakech

Bloody Hell it’s a long way

I found these distance markers on Colin Weekley’s website, and blatantly stole them to repeat here

Our route is 13,695 km if we don’t get lost…

Let’s put that into perspective:
-Circumference of the Moon = 10,921 km
-Distance from London to New York City and back! = 11,156 km
-Diameter of our amazing Planet Earth = 12,713 km
-Distance from London to Darwin, Australia = 13,820 km

45 Days until the start today


Russian Visa Application


And this is just for me and the car. We had to supply almost as much again for Jonathan. Quite a few of those documents are four pages long

.  One of the hardest parts was declaring every country visited in the last ten years.  Thankfully my Continental lorry driving spurs were hung up some time ago or managing the list would have been nearly impossible.  Next stop Chinese, Mongolian and Belorussian Visas, but at least those are dealt with by the agency.

One from the Vaults


Came across this last night: Howard Dent owner of Autosportif, who built the engine and managed the project, on the left; Steve Wilson, the fabricator who did such a good job of the body and suspension preparation, impersonating a power plant; and hiding in the car is Robbie Durrant, the electrician who wired the car between working as electrician and “Left Front Off” for the Red Bull Formula One Team.

We’re doing our bit to empty the asylums.

Delivering to the Shippers


I guess amputation must feel something like this. Delivering Geen to the Shippers was more emotional than I expected. Rather like waving your kid away onto the bus for their first day in school.

Terrible wind and rain overnight from storm Katie, the same rain that washed out our Chelsea Cruise plans, meant I had been awake most of the night before the five o’clock alarm. An eventful trip up, London was like it had just had a riot: fences torn down, rubbish and debris still flying around in the winds. At Clapham North, the police had cut a single lane path through a massive tree that had fallen on both footpaths and four lanes of road. At the bottom of the A11, I came very close to rear ending three cars that stopped suddenly to avoid a two foot deep flood blocking the way. Having fought off the worst nature could put in our path, it seemed rather mundane to get stuck on the motorway for half an hour while the police cordoned off a hazardous tanker that had broken down in a bad place.

Geen seems to have built up a resistance to departing for new continents. Before leaving for Africa, she blew off a load of water in a stroppy fit after the fan failed two miles from home.  This time, before she shipped out to Asia, she climbed the side of the trailer like a spoilt pram escaper, only restrained by the winch cable. In the darkness she really looked like she was straining at the leash. When we finally got to Cars depot in Suffolk, Geen then didn’t want to get off the trailer.  The winch jammed up, so, after a bit of lateral thinking, we got one of the wheel bars out, skidded Geen in reverse which turned her slightly on the trailer, this released the winch and she was gone.

Into strangers hands, a sort of 80 day parc ferme. We see her again 36 hours before the start. We can then add in all the fluids, foods, medicines, spare parts that weren’t ready in time or aren’t permitted to ship in the car and our personal kit. 

We will also have to swap the existing front suspension units for the new springs we’ll hand carry to Beijing, bin the current spring spares and mount up the spare dampers.  We’re going to be busy those first days in China. Usefully we’ll have a bit of time to tune in the mark six suspension before the first time trials.


Amazing to think they get three of these cars in one forty foot container, even then, with maybe 70 cars originating in the UK, it’s a lot of packing, organising and big metal boxes.


A last lingering look…we have no plan for what we do if the car doesn’t make it over to China, so it will be a major relief to be re-united on the 10th June.