23. May 2000, Bishkek to Naryn
The morning in Bishkek started with a tie-decider for the London-Peking participants: If any two participants end up having the same minute penalty in Beijing, the time in seconds needed for this track are used to decide who gets a higher rank. A local go-cart track has been prepared for the rally participants and we all have a go at making one round. The event must have been advertised in Bishkek and there is a large crowd of people watching us (our biggest crowd on the route so far). After letting the tyres squeal for this bit of fun we continue into the mountains. Other then Bishkek and surrounding area, Kyrgyzstan consists almost exclusively of mountains and valleys and we find ourselves in the midst of them pretty soon. We have another test section close to Issyk-Köl, a "resort" lake with depths up to 700m. The test is another straightforward up-the-hill-down-the-hill exercise were we lose another three minutes. The nature and landscapes of Kyrgyzstan are beautiful and we get to see more of it, the deeper we drive into the mountains. The "Tien Shan" mountain range can reach heights of close to 7500m and has many beautiful valleys and plateaus.
Overall 44 minutes penalty