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Peking - Paris - on the way... Report from Moscow

2nd Update on the 2007 Peking Paris Challenge

June 18th, day 23, a day-off in Moscow


Yesterday we had an easy ride from Niz. Novgorod, at just over 400 Km. The usual mix of reasonable road surfaces intermingled with appalling and in most cases totally unexpected series of potholes…

Tomorrow we are off to St. Petersburg, followed by another day-off there.

The rallying side of the event has been totally absent in Russia. Virtually all the time controls were changed to passage controls, and all you have to do is to clock in at the start of the day and then again at arrival. The time allowed is sufficiently generous, so unless you break down you are safe from road penalties.

We are told that once out of Russia and on the Baltic States there will be timed test stages on gravel forest roads and even a city circuit. Can’t wait to get there...

With so little to report on the sporting front, how about a short round up of some of the characters we meet on the event? The other competitors and the rally officials of course make an important part of our experiences, if for no other reason at least because we travel together for so many days and thus get to know most of them reasonable well. But the occasional encounter with all sorts of locals and travelers has so much charm…

Take a look of this amazing couple we met on the Mongolian side of the China-Mongolia border. He is French she is English, they left London a year ago on a world riding Tour planned to take up to 5 years…They were having trouble entering China on a bicycle (of all places !) and planned to follow with Korea, then Japan, etc, etc… If you plan to travel light, this is the example to follow.

Or watch how easy it is for my wife Maria to get on the best of terms with every road side café attendant in Russia…

Or better still, look at this charming little fellow, sitting on the pavement and wearing a sort of bandana, fascinated by the chrome and glitter of our team mates Phillip and Yvonne Haslam’s 1950 Chevrolet Bel Air…

Or finally take my friend Sebastian Welch, whom I met for the first time a year ago as the organizer of the AMOC Le Mans Tour (and hadn’t seen since), who now did exactly the same route we did out of China (i.e. the west route through Mongolia into Russia) only taking twice as long, but … on a tiny Austin Seven!!!
He was here today at the same Cosmos Hotel and he remembered I told him then that he was crazy to attempt that. How wrong I was… Well done Sebastian!

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