Day 18

Last night was absolutely freezing!! I think it was by far the coldest night we’ve experienced so far and everyone was talking about their frozen feet. For once there was no morning rush for the showers as most people decided to skip it.The day’s driving mainly consisted of dual carriage ways which isn’t particularly exciting, but we ended up having more than enough of that later on. Less than 1.5km from the finish, the car suddenly stopped. We were stranded on the side of the main road and I had to get out and push it onto a side street because it wouldn’t budge by itself.

Almost instantly a bunch of locals arrived. They were trying to figure out what our problem was, offer help and of course, take photos. Mario quickly saw that it was the alternator. The mounting had snapped leading to the v-belt falling off and the water pump losing drive.

It wasn’t going to be a quick fix, so using my no-existent Russian, I was able to convince a local to tow us to the finish. We were just putting the tow rope in place when the medical truck arrived and ended up towing us through the crowd which had formed and onto the main square in Kostanay.

We arrived just before they lifted the barriers and let the public onto the square. It was amazing how many people had come to see the cars, but it was so chaotic that it was really hard for Mario to fix the car.Whilst waiting, I ended up talking with someone who had driven over 100km to come and see the retro cars. He was 18 and spoke English really well, which he said he largely taught himself. We went for dinner at a Turkish restaurant with two other participants and over some sushi and pizza, he told us all about Kazakhstan’s history and explained the country’s current political situation.