Well it feels a bit sad to be finishing today, we feel we could continue almost indefinitely. Our favourite blue wooden triangular pencil was lost (or perhaps stolen) in the wastes of Kazakstan and if we decide to turn back and search for it then both men and machine would be more than capable enough.
Highs and lows
There really haven’t been many lows – of course our accident in China was a bad start, and you could single out the stone throwing in Iran and Turkey as the only bum note in the entire event, and even then the reaction of the teams that had windscreens smashed or suffered damage to cherished parts was exemplary. There are grumbles about the event and the relentless pressing on with no time to stop, look, listen, talk but it is what it is and I think you have to accept it as such. The food in Central Asia deserves mention for being uniformly dull. A lack of both ingredient and imagination.
I’ll get to the highs in a moment, the route on this last day is a maze of tiny minor roads weaving through rural France towards Paris. As we pass through the tiny hamlet of Diant an elderly madame settles her ample bosom on the window sill in a manner that suggests it is her daily custom to do so and watch the world go by. And today finally she is rewarded by the sight of 80 or so magnificent machines. She is no doubt pleased to discover that Diant is on the silk route from Peking to Paris. And this is one of the highs – the simple and evident pleasure that we have brought to so many people young and old, knowledgeable about cars or not who enjoy seeing these old cars pass by.
The other highs in no particular order:
That we had no punctures, never ran out of fuel and had no significant navigational errors.
One thing that really worked well was the flying jackets, sheepskin hats, leather gauntlets and goggles from Jerry Leech at Greycar. Couldn’t recommend them highly enough, they have given great service and will remain friends for life.
The spirit of the rally has been excellent. Although we are competing against each other, everyone is generous with their spares, advice and time and we have kept each other going making many friends along the way.
A real high has been the fantastic design and engineering of the Bentley four and a half. It is so much stronger and better than we had imagined was possible. The engine and running gear have been superb, never missing a beat and pulling us up and over the most outrageous obstacles day after day. It has been an absolute and undiluted pleasure to drive and maintain. We have learnt a lot and are getting tolerably proficient at driving it now.
Do please think about making a contribution to our chosen charity The Afghanistan Trust