Day 15 and 16

Long road ahead with some obstacles.

Day 15 Novosibirsk to Omsk
The next few days in the rally are about making distance in kilometers.
Today is a 730 km stretch mostly on the main road between Novosibirsk and Omsk. It is Sunday morning when we leave Novosibirsk and the major of the town has requested if we can start the rally an hour later. As it is a nice crowd turned up to wave us goodbye and all along the route out of this huge town there are spectators waving us good bye.

When we leave the start line we notice that our GPS terra trip master is not working at all. We tried to reset it but it does not show any kilometers or distances. Fortunately we have a second terra trip master wired to the car so we can use that to find our way out of town.

On the way out of town we also past the big Mercedes garage that we were not able to find on Saturday. It was in a completely different area then we had been looking for. When we were in the outskirts of town we started to analyse why the GP trip master did not work. It had worked yesterday and the days before and we had not touched the wiring or the antenna.
Anty took a look at our Garmin GPS that we have for our rally waypoints and noticed that the Garmin did work but showed a very very weak GPS signal…

We gave up until about 10 km out of town when suddenly the GPS trip meter sprang to live again and worked as before. The only explanation we can think of is that in that part of town the GPS signal has been jammed for a specific reason. Any idea’s and suggestions?

The road to Omsk was a mixed bag of sometimes good asphalt and sometimes terrible asphalt with a lot of winter damage. Sunday morning should be a quiet day on the road but we found it quite busy with cars but also with lots of truck.
The landscape has also changed in flat marsh land with many dead trees along the roadside. We think there is a tree disease at work as we saw this also three years ago. The weather turned dark and grey with light and heavy rainstorms. And the villages we passed look very poor indeed. The landscape has the look of mining villages in the North of England or the South of Holland in the fifty’s. A bit depressing.

Our first run was over 330 km and after a time control we had to turn off the main road for a 200 km off road section. This section included some time trial sections. We were really not looking forward to this and when we were about 30 km on the black wet gravel on the way to the first timed section we saw rally cars coming back in our direction. Soon we discovered that the route that was planned for us had become impassable even for the rally Toyota 4x4 vans. The whole section was cancelled and we went back to the main road and continued on to Omsk.

Omsk is not a very nice place but the local welcome was really very warm. The rally was split over two very basic hotels . We had each a room in the IBIS hotel. Clean, air co and a good shower. That is all we need. Soon we received an app from Tom and Femke that they had found a nice Irish pub and would we join them. It was good and we had a nice salad and a good steak.
Then early to bed for an early start in the morning.

Day 16 Omsk to Tyumen
Another long day with a sting in the engine.
Early start for another 700 kilometre run over local roads towards our destination for the night Tyumen.

The first 360 km was on the main road to Tyumen. The weather turned really bad again with heavy showers. The traffic oddly enough was lighter then Sunday. In some places the road was very good as well. We needed to get stamps at three passage controls before turning off the main road onto smaller local roads for some time trials.
At he last passage control we took some fuel and when I continued on the road I suddenly felt the engine loosing power. It felt like it was missing one of its cylinders. It was raining hard and we were driving in a sort of no-man’s-land with marshes on the side of the road. So we continued until the official left turn for the rally. There was small fuel station on the junction with a roof where we could park the car and check what was wrong.
By then the engine really sounded rough. We set to work and took all the plugs out. Replaced one plug but it did not cure the misfire. Fortunately at the same spot one of the rally mechanic sweep teams were working on a broken pre war car. Owen one of the mechanics that we know well came over and when we explained what the problem was he set to work in a very methodical fashion. Plug were checked again, the coils were checked and we replaced one of them. Still no result and then he muttered something about the ECU or car brain. I said that we carry a spare one and I dug it out. Owen fitted it to check if it would make any difference and immediately the engine ran completely clean.

We put everything back together again and were on our way to the time control 130 km away. Now we had lost about 40 minutes and we had to push to make the time control in time. As it was we arrived with 10 minutes to spare so we did not loose time today thanks to Owen and his team.

The time trial was cancelled when we got there but we had to finish he whole route and then rejoin the main route to Tyumen.
The engine is fine again and the first analyses is that this might still be the result of our river crossing a few days ago. The electronic brain – ECU – is in the foot well on Anty’s side. This was the part of the car that was flooded up to the doorsills. It might have been corrosion. We are in contact with the Altena team to analyse what has happened but for now the car is back on song.

Days like the last two days are very tiring in a classic car but everybody here is in he same boat and we all want to go to Paris.

Tomorrow less kilometres but maybe worse roads,

Good night,

Mick