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Report: Peking to Paris, day 15

Published 11 June 2013

Novosibirsk to Omsk

It has been a long day down the bumpy, lumpy rippled tarmac that goes on and on, between forests of silver-birch trees. Getting here has been trouble-free for most, but there are a few casualties to report.

After the yellow Rover, car 73, developed front suspension problems including a broken king-pin, the second Rover 100 of Tony Smyth and Malcolm Lister has been taking it steadily, and running in company with the fellow Rover crew. This afternoon, the green Rover of Tony Smyth suffered the same kind of breakage as the yellow car, and was stuck beside the road awaiting a truck to bring it into town. The Guild of Rover Owners will be late for dinner tonight.

The Jaguar of Alberto Bessudo and Joanin Bernard has retired today, with overheating issues. The crew hope to carry on in a hire-car but the Jaguar will be shipped home. Car 77 has struggled today with injector problems, the Mercedes hopes to struggle on tomorrow.

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The good news is the Citroen DS is now going well – the crew were up on all night supervising a local workshop in order to re-start today, and they came into Omsk beaming that the car is now running fine, 'We are up for more fun in the coming days – we are back in the hunt,' said navigator Pete Washington. The Citroen had new hydraulic seals made along with a rear ram, and is now fit for more action. The tired crew are full of admiration for the support they have received, and there is many a tale from other crews of clever workmanship getting a car going again.

Tony and Lee Strelzow in the Bentley drophead, currently 13th in the Vintageants, had another puncture today, and were helped by local truck-drivers as their jack is proving to be useless, and is now running new springs, adapted from a military Jeep, after an all-night session in a workshop in Novosibirsk. They are running slowly as the front brakes are not working properly, and there appears to be no reason why.

The local motor-federation have performed a great service in assisting the event, not just with guiding Kim Bannister’s route-planning work, including more off-road Time Trial sections than any previous visit to Russia, but also in the back up – their own mechanics sweep through the route to help the fallen.

Tonight the crowds flocked around the silver Model A Ford special as Bill Cleyndert and Mark van Hees set about carrying out their spanner-checks and adjusting the tappets. Mani Dubs and Robi Huber, the crew of car 23, the Rockne saloon, had to fight for space to check out the car, they had concerns for the back axle as they had new rear wheel-bearings made.

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