Friday, 14 June 2019

Novosibersk, Friday 14th June
On Wednesday on a gravel road, we broke the differential housing and waited four and a half hours for a tray truck to transport us to Novosibersk, missing two and a half days of the rally. We arrived here at 3am, having been driven through the night. The truck dropped us at a workshop and we took a Uber to the hotel about 4am. The truck driver stopped for dinner at a spotless place which simply looked like a two storey house. No English and we managed to get a delicious meal of chicken soup, chicken & potatoes, baked bread & coffee for a total of $25.
At 7.30 am we went back to the workshop and the car was assessed by a mechanic. The whole rear axle assembly was removed, the broken side removed and welded. It was reassembled and put back in the car. Many other items were attended to, such as the sump guard which took a 40 tonne press to straighten, headlights reattached, engine mount replaced and sundry small jobs. Achim, the mechanic was excellent with great work.
We've accumulated huge penalties because of the missed controls but better to have the car repaired and now concentrating on getting the car to Paris.
The roads in Mongolia were diabolical with huge gullies, ruts, bumps etc, very hard on the cars so a large attrition rate. We survived the camping in Mongolia and some of the camps were in spectacular places, beside lakes or running streams. The camps were set up with temporary shower blocks, toilets and a mess tent. The food was excellent and plenty of vegetarian options.
The people in this part of Russia are very friendly and helpful, a vast contrast to the people of Mongolia. Border crossings to date have been slow and bureaucratic, particularly the one from Mongolia to Russia. With a long line of 60 cars waiting to cross, the entire crossing shut down whilst the staff walked out for lunch.
Leading up to the Mongolian border the shocker mount broke. At the border we removed the shock absorber and continued on to the day's end camp not realising that the remaining part of the mount had worked loose, allowing suspension to be hanging on one bolt. That bolt broke as we turned off the main road into the camp where cabins were provided. We suspected something was wrong as the car was pulling to the left for the last 100 kms. Turning off the main road we hit a bump and the single remaining bolt broke and the front left wheel folded under the car as that side's suspension collapsed.
Passing locals jumped out of their cars and took control. Using jacks & some of our tools had us on 4 wheels again by way of a temporary bolt and a hammered in tapered pin.This was adequate to get us the last few hundred meters to the camp, where we worked until late to effect repairs. A couple of the helpers were working on the conservation of the snow leopard as very few remain in Russia. They were providing entertainment for local children so had one of the troupe dressed in a snow leopard suit. Quite a site with a snow leopard helping to do car repair by the side of the road.
The Russian side was closed for a holiday on Tuesday and 4 cars were unable to cross so had to stay in Mongolia for another day.
Lots of animals wander across the roads here and in Mongolia: horses, sheep, cows and goats.
The villages in Mongolia were like compounds with fencing all around. The colourful colorbond roofs stood out, bright shades of orange, aqua, blues and yellows.
The dust from the roads seeps into everything in the car, including us, and we arrive at the end of the day looking like vagabonds.
Internet service has been hit & miss, and the rally very intense so very little time to blog.
Tomorrow is a rest day before we head to Kazakhstan on Sunday.
The Russians are extremely particular about taking US dollars, anything old looking, creased, marked etc is rejected. Every note is examined twice and we've had a few rejected at the bank today.
Having had five blowouts in 3 days due to bad advice received about installing tubes in tyres, we are off tomorrow to have the remaining tubes removed and to obtain some cast-off tyres from another Australian competitor who has had new tyres flown in. Along the way we have purchased 3 tyres of varying quality, mainly second-hand. It will be good to be back on 4 good tyres with one good spare as we have driven the last 3 days with no spare whatsoever. We are also attempting to obtain another rim as we destroyed a rim in Mongolia.


  1. Wow! Amazing recoveries. Despite breakage, the car seems resilient as is navigator snd driver. Keep with good luck.

  2. Artem the mechanic. No Achim.

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