Day 37 - Tashkent, Uzbekistan

Kublai Kooks - Mongol Rally 2017
Day 37 - August 21, 2017
Bukhara, Uzbekistan to Tashkent, Uzbekistan
Countries: 25 KMs/Miles: 14082/8801
Breakdowns: 14 Time @ Borders: 44h 0m

Breakfast saw the Kooks in a haggard state making big decisions of the day to come and what to do about YACKS and her presumed damaged piston. The hostel owner, Beck, offered to take John to a local mechanic who would be able to give John have the equipment required to test the engine compression and would know whether there were spare parts available. The Kooks decided to head down this path before making any final decisions.

After only a few hours, the lads return and arise Andy from his sly little hungover kip. The news is grim. John’s suspicions were confirmed and the piston is blown. There are no Skoda parts in the country, shipping is too timely and YACKS is in trouble. Some big decisions would need to be made at the Round Table.

With all options exhausted, the decision became glaringly clear. The boys would need to skip the Pamir Highway. This cut deep. It was the coup-de-grace of the Mongol Rally and the Kooks had been eager to tackle it from day one. Time was quickly becoming a factor though and if these Kooks were to have a legitimate shot at crossing the finish line before it closed, they just could not risk taking a terminally ill YACKS over the treacherous pass. The route redrawn, the boys will skip Tajikistan altogether and cross directly into Kyrgyzstan. Import taxes in Uzbekistan make it a very expensive endeavour to scrap a car so if YACKS needed to be put down, she couldn’t be put down here. Off to Bishkek where the boys were hopeful they could either:

a) Get Skoda parts and do an engine overhaul or;
b) Cut YACKS in half, register as a trailer and buy a motorcycle to lighten Millie’s load (quickly becoming the preferred choice).

Heads hung low, the boys join Beck for a cheap and cheerful lunch of arguably the best kebabs they have had on the trip (and they have had a LOT of kebabs). They return to the hostel to say goodbye to the girls….again. This time would be the last.

The Kooks limped into Tashkent late with tails between legs and YACKS still unable to idle which was certainly increasing their driving skills. Stops needed to be planned well in advance and quick hands & feet were a must to keep the revs up while braking or pulling the hand break. The boys would be true rally car drivers soon enough.

Before pulling into town, the boys made a running adjustment to the route and decided that the final section of the Pamir was obtainable if they crossed at Osh. It was a short section which fellow Ralliers had ensured was good roads with great roads. More time in Uzbekistan would be required with dodgey petrol and funny money but it was worth it for a taste of the Pamir. Not the grand trophy they desired, but a consolation prize nonetheless. End Transmission.