It’s a very small world indeed, as we discovered recently out in Thailand.
Peter, our curator, was taking part in the epic Road to Saigon car rally, a 27 day mammoth journey from Singapore to Ho Chi Minh city.
With his son in law owner and co-driver Erik Andersen, he was 17 days into the journey when the car – a 1950s Oldsmobile – developed fuel pump problems in the remote hills above Khao Kho.
One of the rally’s team of specialist mechanics, Tony Jones, came to help, and over the bonnet of the car they got chatting. “He asked me where I was from, and I told him I lived in the Lake District,” says Peter. “Then he asked, where in the Lake District? He knows Rydal very well indeed…he lives in Ambleside, and often walks his dog past our garden.”
“We know his wife, Lisa, who works for the Mountain Goat tour operator, bringing visitors here.”
Peter and Erik, a lawyer who lives in Papua New Guinea, covered a total distance of 8575km, sharing driving and navigating over roads which varied from “excellent” to rice paddy fields, rubber plantations, jungle tracks and dusty gravel rough tracks. The rally, different versions of which are staged annually, had been a long ambition of both men.
The event is open to both vintage and pre-1977 classic cars and is suitable for both experienced and novice crews. Parts of the route followed the acclaimed 2015 Road to Mandalay as far as the northern Thai town of Mae Sot, then took a new route further into Thailand before branching out to the east and visiting Cambodia and Vietnam.
“It was great fun, though often very hard work,” says Peter. “The roads were challenging but not impossible, and we only made a couple of navigational errors.
“We finished down the field due to our mechanical problems so we were all the happier to have great back-up from the team, which included Tony from Ambleside.”