After a lovely evening of merriment at the hotel and a good night’s sleep, our crews awoke with the knowledge that our time in Tibet is drawing to a close. Today, there was one last big old pass to tackle and a shorter day ahead before we reach the Tibet/Nepal border tomorrow.
With a new road out of Saga under construction, crews were advised to depart early to beat the road works. With some elements of the new road closed, crews were forced to drive on both the old and the new, certainly waking up both car and driver.
These roads, regardless of age, took us through wide valleys and then up to the highest pass called Jakhyung La at 5236m. At the top, another colourful display of prayer flags as a final hurrah as we started the swift decent that would see us drop 3000m in around 30 minutes.
At the top of the pass, Car 2, the Bentley Super Sports of David and Julia Little, once again suffered a broken spring but managed to baby it down the other side.
Again, this road was rough and at around two thirds of the way down, you could understand why as we saw heavy plant machinery burring a hole for a tunnel straight through the mountain side.
The many women working on the resurfacing of the road stopped and waved to the crews as we made our way further into the valley.
Through the town of Dzongka, which was being redeveloped, the crews then followed the Kyirong Tsangpo River, descending further into the Kyirong Valley, which forms one of Tibet’s most beautiful alpine regions. Snow peaks, alpine brushes, forests, villages, and farms spread vertically step by step. It feels like time has stood still and this is known as one of the most remote places of Tibet and has been called the Back Garden of Everest.
After all the jostling around during the course of the morning, James Hall-Smith and Ed Talbot’s Rolls Royce, Car 11 aka Buttercup, found that the spring that had been previously welded, had broken. Luckily, sweeps Gary Pickard and Gary Oliver were on hand and in a makeshift lay-by, found a discarded spring from a truck that they used as a temporary fix until they got to town.
One they reached Ji Long, they headed to a nearby scrap yard and managed to find the correct part they needed to get them all fixed up and ready to get to the Kathmandu finish line.
Car 16, the Jaguar Mk2 of Dominic and Rosie Collins, were about 200m from the hotel when their brakes failed. The brake pipe had cracked and, after flying through a set of traffic lights, they managed to come to a halt somewhere that sweeps Richard Last and Simon Clooney could tow them to safety before repairing the brakes ready for tomorrow’s drive.
With all the cars lined-up outside the hotel, the whole town seemed to descend on the street to see these amazing cars and drivers who had journeyed so far.
Tonight, everyone seemed to let their hair down a little more, including birthday boy David Royds, as the anticipation of reaching the end of this incredible adventure gathers pace.