The Longest Auto Race World Tour 2014: Gorilla Tape and Tie Wraps

The Longest Auto Race World Tour 2014: Gorilla Tape and Tie Wraps

On May 8, 2014, a small band of loyal enthusiasts set off on a once-in-a-lifetime around-the-world driving adventure that follows in the tire-tracks of George Schuster and the original Great Automobile Race of 1908.  This leg of the route takes them across Japan and ferries them into Russia; from there they breeze through the northern Manchurian part of China, Siberia, the Baltics, Poland, Germany, Belgium, and France. Along the way they’ll continue to send check-ins from the road.

The cars and drivers participating in the re-creation of the 1908 Great Automobile Race from New York to Paris have just checked in from the road: They’ve arrived in Tyumen, Russia and are heading west!

With a current total of 23 plastic tie wraps and a roll of Gorilla Tape holding their long-suffering vehicles together, they are more than halfway across Russia, the biggest country in the world. The adventurous journey is the brainchild of auto enthusiast Luke Rizzuto, who requested MIR to help him make his dream a reality.

From a Brick to a JackMost likely it’s the 1928 Plymouth Roadster driven by trip co-coordinator John Quam that is sporting the most tie-wraps and pieces of Gorilla Tape (said to be even stronger than duct tape). Included in his toolkit is a discarded Russian brick, pressed into service as a car jack when the Roadster required repairs to its shocks.

The other car, a 2008 GMC Envoy, driven by Leo G. Janssens, is a tiny bit more reliable on a trip of these dimensions.

The original contestants in the Great Auto Race drove from New York to Paris via Japan. This leg of the 2014 re-creation stretches from Japan to Paris across Russia, and is proving to be an exciting challenge. You can follow the progress of the participants on their blog, written mainly by Eileen Bjorkman, the fourth World Team member.

Here are some photos of their trip so far:

 

Day 15: Clearing the Cars with Chinese Customs Photo credit: Eileen Bjorkman

Day 15: Clearing the cars with Chinese customs
The cars arrived by truck into China. This is a photo of the Roadster from the loading dock.
Photo credit: Eileen Bjorkman

Day 23: Zabaikalsk to Chita If tire repair ever becomes an Olympic sport, this mechanic in Aamanovka is a sure bet to wing the gold medal! From tire into the shop to tire back out of the shop took about seven minutes, and he only charged 100 rubles, about $3.  Photo credit: Eileen Bjorkman

Day 23: Zabaikalsk to Chita
If tire repair ever becomes an Olympic sport, this mechanic in Aamanovka is a sure bet to win the gold medal! From tire into the shop to tire back out of the shop took about seven minutes, and he only charged 100 rubles, about $3.
Photo credit: Eileen Bjorkman

Days 24-25: Chita to Ulan Ude Roadster parking lot maintenance Photo credit: Eileen Bjorkman

Days 24-25: Chita to Ulan Ude
Roadster parking lot maintenance
Photo credit: Eileen Bjorkman

Days 24-25: Chita to Ulan Ude <br />  Tie wraps to the rescue! <br />  Photo credit: Eileen Bjorkman

Days 24-25: Chita to Ulan Ude
Tie wraps to the rescue! 
Photo credit: Eileen Bjorkman

Day 34: Tomsk to Novosibirsk Along the way the Roadster needed to new shock absorbers. Photo credit: Eileen Bjorkman

Day 34: Tomsk to Novosibirsk
Along the way the Roadster needed new shock absorbers. They found an auto supply facility on the edge of town and shared this photo of the stairs up to the second floor at the auto market place.
Photo credit: Eileen Bjorkman

 

(Top photo credit: Luke Rizzuto)

PUBLISHED: June 16, 2014

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