sempre faça uma revisão antes de sair em rali com seu carro de oitenta anos. se, mesmo assim, algo falhar do outro lado do mundo, ainda não é o fim do mundo.
A mechanic took customer service to a new level by going on a 15,000 mile round trip from London to Mongolia – to carry out a 10-minute repair with an £87 part. Dedicated Bentley specialist William Medcalf took two flights and then drove through the desert for more than seven hours to help stricken client Bill Cleyndert. Mr Cleyndert was taking part in the Peking to Paris motoring rally when a wheel bearing failed on his 1924 Bentley Super Sports. He was just two days into the journey in China and with no parts available his only hope was Mr Medcalf, who had prepared the car ahead of the 8,500 mile drive.
After quickly sourcing the £87 part he set off from his base in West Sussex to Heathrow Airport , where he took a flight to South Korea. From there he jumped on another flight to Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia, at midnight. He then picked up a 4×4 and set out in pitch darkness on a near 300 mile drive through the perilous roads of Mongolia and into the Gobi Desert. After reaching their remote camp at 7.30am, he simply removed the wheel and replaced the bearing in a job lasting no more than 10 minutes.
Mr Medcalf said: “Bill suffered a rear wheel bearing failure on day two, which left the car immobile with a seized rear wheel and only had one shot to get across the China Mongolia border. “If he didn’t get across with the other 100 cars he wouldn’t be able to get across at all. “There is 2km of no man’s land, so ingeniously the car was towed across at walking pace, with the rear wheel supported on a trolley jack into Mongolia. “Driving in Mongolia is like nowhere else in the world. You have people driving at a closing speed of 100mph in the pitch dark, with full beam on and you’re trying to drive safely.
“Then the road suddenly ends and you are in the desert and you have to find the road again, always driving within your headlights. 40mph is about as fast as you can go and it’s quite an experience. “We got to within 130km of the camp, which wasn’t really a campsite at all, just a place in the desert and we were crawling around boulders at 5mph following the longitude N 45.17293 and latitude E. 108.43776 with no clear way of getting there.” Bill had the car jacked up and ready to be worked on and ably assisted William, who has been working on Bentleys for 22 years.
The happy owner, who runs bespoke furniture firm Bill Cleyndert & Company, got back into the car with partner Jacqui Norman and headed off on their adventure. They ended up finishing 21st overall and fourth in their class, winning the European Cup on their way through. Bill, 58, from Norfolk, said: “The rear wheel wouldn’t rotate. The brilliant rally mechanics (known as sweeps) stepped in and towed the car across the border at 2mph. We then put it on a low loader and transported it to the ‘campsite’.
“It was a heroic effort by William to get to us and within ten minutes we were on our way. We had to make the most of it and we ended up winning the European Cup which started in Poland. The Bentley is a fabulous car and it took it in its stride. It was a great experience and we thoroughly enjoyed it.” And thanks to the Nomads who provided a trolley for transporting the Bentley, the vintage car is now known as Dolly.
The Peking to Paris rally is one of the world’s greatest motoring adventures, and without doubt the toughest event of all for pre war cars, lasting 36 days. Bill and Jacqui started the rally on June 12, arriving with Dolly in Paris on July 17 and returning to the UK earlier this week. More than 100 competitors travel through China, Mongolia, Russia, Belarus, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Italy and Switzerland before finishing in France. In total, they cover a staggering 8,510 miles a figure made all the more amazing by the fact some of the cars are almost 100 years old.