Post Rally wrap-up

Dont know where or how to begin to bring this extrodinary adventure to an end. There were simply too many experiences to describe and  too many events that circled around us and others to make sense of. Each day held surprises and challenges no words can descibe in the short space available. Overtime, as Lee and I reminisce and remember the events of this great rally the stories will flow. They will tell about the highs and lows, the great camaraderie and acts of kindness from the peoples we met along the many miles and the long days. 

The efforts made to keep us 'in the race' were part of this remarkable story. The sweeps and mechnics that labored to patch the Bentley and keep her going strong were a special blessing. We were often tired and anxious as new noises crept into the chassis or strange clunks devleoped into menacing crashes in the suspension. The crew of ERA would respond with a swat team that got us back on the road. Often with ingenious solutions (wooden spring shackle bushings !!) . Our thanks to these cheerful and calm magicians of the spanner and the hammer. Andy, Tony, Owen, Simon.. and everyone on the team, you've earned a warm spot in our hearts and memories. 


Omsk Spring Change

We arrived into Omsk after 500 harrowing kilometers fighting to keep the car from flying off the road. After canabalizing and installing the russian springs the car drove like the carnival ride Wild Mouse. One look by the ERA mechanics and they diagnosed the problem…we had the springs on BACKWARDS!! 


Novosibersk rest day

No rest for me as I spent 18 straight hours with a crew of russian mechanics racing against the clock to fabricate a new set of springs for the sticken Bentley. Working thoroughout the night we completed this task with minutes to spare the next morning. 

A special memory for me is the increadible effort made by a team of mechanics in Novosibersk. We had arrived in this town nursing two front springs we had shatter in the Mongolian desert 3 days prior. I showed up at their shop on the rest day morning hoping we could at best get some sort of patchup that we could limp into Paris. They set to work and never let up for 18 hours straight until we had a new 'russian soul' in the from of 2 canabilized jeep springs. Remarkable !!!

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Work continues through the night to find suitable replacement for our hopelessly broken spring set. Here Vadimand Noori  are rebending the spring mounts while Sergei is generating a shower of sparks reshaping the spring mounts to fit.

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This sorry site is a UAZ or russian jeep. Long since out of production it was the inspiration and donor of our replacement springs. After a few hours at the local 'blacksmith' to temper and reset the donor springs they were ready to be adapted to the Bentley

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Noori and Shafik

These brothers worked tirelessly and can be seen here fettling our tempermental headlights.

The brothers came to Novosibersk from Turkmenistan to apply their skills towards a better living 

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New soul for Bentley

Sergei shows off the completed springs before installing them as the we race the clock to have the car at the starting line by 7:00 am.

Proud of the all-night effort Sergei offers that although the Bentley has a English heart it will now have a russian 'soul'.

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Spring for Kids

The charity that we support got a broad exposure and we were proud to carry the logo across Asia and Europe


That we survived the impossibly difficult MOngolian desert terrian , the punishing russian outback and the  vertically challenging alpine passes is a testiment to the cars preparation. We ahve to give full thanks to Carl Ford, John, Ian and the rest of the crew at THE PRIORY VINTAGE CAR COMPANY for their superb effort in preparing our the car to be fit to finsih this gruelling demolition derby. They also provided unflagging support for us by airlifting crutial parts that kept our efforts alive. 

Also special mention of Andy and TRacy Pearson of SPECIALTY ENGINEERING who put the final and crutial touchs on our car transforming it into a racer. Without the brilliantly engineered and constructed skid plate that ran virtually the entire length of the car we would have been succumbed to the MOngolian terrian  at the outset. With this vital safety component we were able to skip the car across sand bogs, rocks and river beds with reckless abandon, like skipping a stone across water. The ERA mechanics oogled and complimented us on our 'underarmour'. High praise indeed! With Andy's help we were able to review and secure the preparations and ship the car with the confidence that we were ready for the unknown.

Many thanks as well to all the well wishers and those that followed the blog and gave us feedback via comments and emails. Much appreciated. 

Thank you all, and we'll do it again next time, somewhere, don't know where yet. 

Lee-Ann and Tony Strelzow

© Anthony Strelzow 2013