Bit of drama late last night as we found one of the ball joints had cried enough. Our plans for a quiet night went out of the window and we only just finished in time for dinner.
Best apparel of the event is already won by this couple at breakfast. Reminds me of Caroline, Jonathan’s wife, navigating for me. As we approached a corner she called: “not sure… not sure…Reft!”
I met this charming man who had worked on the hotel hot water boiler for many many years. Coal fired from a huge pile outside.
He even started it up for me specially. What a thing, really clever with hoppers and all sorts of conveyors, as he says: “once many men” I am fairly sure it’s just him now and that includes humping coal in from outside.
You would need to enlarge this image to get the effect of the sparks blowing past the furnace door. A really nice encounter across continents, technologies and cultures.
Our instructions for crossing the border, looks so simple on paper, but I’ve been sitting writing this as a distraction from the long waiting.
The Rally has left China now and this is the queue into Mongolia.
And this is us in Mongolia
Even managed to get the Mongolian courtesy flag on the bonnet in no man’s land
Amazing open roads
And beautiful puffy cloud skies
Mobbed by Mongolians at the last control before the first stages in the desert
Sunburst over the campsite at the end of the leg.
Today’s two stages were great. We took the wrong track twice on the first, I didn’t drive particularly well and we went cross country to arrive at the finish control at 90 degrees to the normal approach. I. Don’t. Think. Our. Time. Was. A. Good. One. (Gritted teeth).
Second stage was the fastest I have been to date on a stage. I saw 179kph on the clock but we were faster elsewhere. I felt I was driving within my limits, as fast as I felt safe to go. We were clearly faster than some of our competitors and it was valedictory to feel competitive enough to be on the event.
Geen is just astonishing off road, what a car. So now we’re in camp and euphoria turns to concern. The ball joint on the right side has crapped out too. So that’s all our spares gone. We are hoping to re supply in Russia in ten days time but there is a lot of Mongolia between here and there. We may get lucky and find something to fit in Ulan Bataar where we have a rest day tomorrow night.
If a ball joint let’s go at speed on a stage, the relevant corner digs in the wheel collapses to the rear and the car launches end over end…
We have three stages tomorrow.
Hopefully our logistics helpers are on the case and we’ll get re-supplied in Novosibirsk. In the meantime we’re going go have to hope our luck hold out on the spare ball joints fitted. It isn’t encouraging that the spare we fitted has already got some movement…
Sunset campsite chat, Nicky lost her dad at 54 and she’s here with her mum in the car he prepared.