Geen greats the dawn
Rally cars muster at the mess tent
PostScript on yesterday, we set the fastest time on our stage two and even with our rubbish routing on stage one we would have been seconds off the leaders and a front runner. Professionally we were travelling too fast on stage two, what we should be doing is keeping in about third place and 15 to 30 seconds off the pace of the leaders to best preserve the car.
The ball joint issue puts thoughts of competing out of consideration. The test for day two is to make the controls on time and get to Ulan Bataar.
Hopefully we can get a fix to the problem there. After all, after Havana, Ulan may be the capital of mend and make do. We had a fixer lined up to meet us on arrival so fingers crossed.
Another day begins.
William Medcalf flew out from Britain with parts for one of the Bentleys he prepared and got to the desert at four in the morning. The repair took ten minutes and the car was back in the running.
Geen packed up and parked up ready for the start. Nomads camp vehicles in the background. Pure coincidence that we’re parked near the beer truck.
Finish time control stage three. Heartbreaking driving down the stages at 40 kph all day when we could have been competing at the front. Guess we got our preparations 99 per cent right. But this is rallying and the one per cent error component failure is tough, but at least the crew didn’t fail at this stage
Not this Volvo
An Oovo. These are shrines along the road and are often huge and decorated with blue plastic sacking. I particularly liked this one as it was mostly sheep skulls and crutches. Tradition has it you go round them three times for good luck. No one seems to know if that is clock or anti clockwise. Far be it for us to tempt the wrath of the gods.
As we drove by the local village the kids rushed towards us and we’re grabbing stuff from the floor. I tensed up expecting a stoning. But they were throwing flowers of welcome. Well adding more weeds to the crew. I felt a heel for being so cynical, but you just don’t have the experience. Wish I had realised the real situation sooner as we have a supply of hats, pens, fags and whisky for gifts or bribes. With the ball joints such a concern I didn’t want to slow and turn back, but I had my first regret since starting the event a week ago. By the time I stopped and got a photo this was all that was left of a festooning. I have a small bloom left on the dash to remind me of the encounter. Sorry little Mongol guys.
We got into town and had major stress trying to find the last control and get to our hotel. Our local fixer who we had set up to take us to a local garage proved firstly elusive and then didn’t show. We needed a hand as we’re unlikely to find a ball joint shop under our own steam.
A very long stressful story later, we ended up in the workshops of Nomads, the people who make the camp/glamp sites for us in the desert. Had a long chat with the owners Jan and Suzanne who came from Koln in Germany originally but have been here for twenty years. Nomads is a major concern and I think we’ve done a good job to get in on Friday night.
Bed was very welcome