Day 23

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.

TC 72: Bishkek OUT
Bishkek Special Test (tie decider for London-Peking)
  1 km
TC 73: Kok Moynok Eki
16 159.50 km
TC 74: Kock Kor
36 (3 minutes penalty) 25.80 km
TC 75: Naryn IN
36 145.60 km

Overall 44 minutes penalty

The official results can be looked up on this website

In Bishkek we attract crowds like a local football match

Many roaming horses in the valleys. They seem to be sturdy and with wild character. But the Kyrgyz all know how to ride and they enjoy drinking horse milk.

Common housing: the yurts of the Kyrgyz and the mobile living containers (with huge wheels to get them out of the mud) of Soviet-Russian heritage.

Naryn is a small town with former strategic importance but not sure where to head now. Tourism will certainly have a future in this area but there is still a long way. This picture was taken on the airfield used for our parking.


The Kyrgyz people often wear their ethnic hats (left), rally participants seem to prefer the legionnaire-type (right)

The day was a bit rainy and the temperature is starting to sink in the higher regions, here we are on the Dolan Pass (3038m).

Tien Shan mountains, one of the few cars we see.

Idyllic scenery: Naryn and all we see of Kyrgyzstan is amazing with the high Tien Shan mountains giving a frame. Now if they could just do something to improve their bathroom facilities...