Day 11 Mon 20th Sept – Khovd – Day Off
Update 21/09/10 18.07: Once Tim had got back to the camp it became apparent that all of the wheels needed tightening. Once tbis was done and the car re-packed they were ready for an early start in the morning to make their way to the Russian border.
After a 5 hour wait in the somewhat chaotic mechanics’ compound last night, a very tired Tim and two equally tired mechanics stripped Benson’s front springs and the two offending top leafs. Tim was then presented with a pair of springs from a Russian military jeep that looked a bit on the rusty side. Having been reassured that they were made with the best steel in the world they were dispatched to a machine shop to be shortened to fit Benson.
This got me thinking about the impact of the rally on the stop towns. A good time to be a creative and hard working mechanic! These guys are working all night moving from one car to the next resolving an astonishing array of problems under a genuinely pressing time constraint. Hats off to them and I’m betting a fair few glasses have been raised in their honour these last few days. Julie voiced a certain amount of concern that because of all of the required loitering waiting for Benson to be seen that Tim would be starting the next five day stretch completely shattered. Sounds like the vintage car.
For the first time the satellite link for Julie’s call was so bad that I could only make out a few words of her message. She must have realised as she also sent me a text. Not really all that long ago that you would have had little or no contact with the crews for the duration. At the time that he called today which was about 10.30am he had already been in the compound for 4 hours after another good night of sleep so hopefully Julie need not be too concerned on this score – he in fact sounded remarkably upbeat. He had just been promised that the shortened springs would be back within the hour. With the hour and a half needed to fit them he seemed happy that he would get Benson back to the camp in time to do all of the normal rest day fettling. Personally I think it’s pretty amazing that they have got to day 10 before needing any outside assistance with the car. Tim said it was freezing when he got up this morning with frost on the ground. All being well with the repair they should reach the Russian border tomorrow night.