Philip Young Memorial

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A huge turnout. Phillip was almost single handedly the creator of both historic stage and long distance endurance rallying. His difficult side was covered, but the speakers did him proud with tales of hilarity and pride. His good friend and travelling companion Gerald Brown made a moving film memorial.

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Many famous and purposeful rally cars filled the paddocks

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This is the Talbot that finished first in the 1989 London to Sydney rally.

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I have only recently finished the book of the adventure, Africa and Beyond. We’ve been reading as much of the literature on long distance rallying as we can. Theirs is one of the best. It’s particularly good on the philosophy of having such pseudo adventures.

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Bluebell, a famous Bentley

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London to Cape Town MG Maestro

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Ford Falcon came from Sweden

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Geen with her temporary fillings – in good company with William Medcalf’s Bentley alongside

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Dave Lucas worked the throttle as Phillip was remembered by a minute’s noise. Gone but never forgotten.

After Africa, some upgrades

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Stone guards for all the forward facing lamps and opening so we can clean them (that includes trying to seal them from dust ingress too – amazing the ability of desert dust propelled by the cars motion to get in everywhere)

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Added a grill in front of the grill in front of the grill.  The car has a decorative plastic grill which we were concerned about taking a hit and shoving broken shards back through the electric fan and radiator.  So a third grill for the front.  Took the opportunity to include two trays to put bits in while working under the engine. For too long we have been using the wings and the top of the power steering reservoir.  Hopefully the trays will offer a more disciplined approach to losing the 8mm washers…

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Final front end

Delivering to the Shippers

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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.

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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.

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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.

One from the Vaults

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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.

Russian Visa Application

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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.

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