Day 5 Tue 14th Sept – Ulaan Baatar – Day Off
No such thing as a day of on an endurance rally in a car that needs lots of TLC. A rest day is partly a chance to rest a little and do some laundry but is mostly to fix bits on the car. Tim had already done 4 hours work when he got a chance to call and leave a voice mail. All of the grease spots have been greased and all of the oil levels checked. The rear differential which Tim knew was dripping needed 1.5 l of oil so it is losing more than he thought. The exhaust is all sorted now and the brakes have all been tightened. Now all the work has been done he has spent 20,000 Mongolian Tugrik (a bit less than £10) getting Benson cleaned.
Benson is running beautifully and seems to do better in the rougher terrain than on tarmac. It is only on tarmac when you are getting from A to B at some speed that the tendency to overheat kicks in. However they have worked a solution in that once they hit 90 kmph they let Benson overrun and drop the speed down to 80kmph. This combined with letting him run with no revs when they’re going downhill is allowing them to get the temperature down by as much as 10 – 15 degrees (I hope I’ve got that right)! There’s no question that overall it’s harder running Benson at altitude.
Tomorrow they’re off for a longer phase in the desert which they are expecting to be tough. Its the lack of sleep that is hardest. The level of camaraderie is amazing with most people really looking out for one another and going out of their way to help.
One of their favourite cars (a 1934 – Lagonda M45 Saloon) has had a torrid time, breaking down 12 km outside of Beijing. Because they all have to go through the borders together the car was trucked to Ulan Bataar whilst Richard and James have been forced to drive the route in a clapped out taxi with no suspension for the last 4 days (longest stint was a 16 hour drive)! Today they woke up to be told that their car, the truck and the driver are lost and non contactable – please keep everything crossed for them.