Sorry for the long gap, but it's been a wild wild wild ride. After leaving Beijing we went to Hohhot and then Erenhot. Our rear axle seal was leaking so we disassembled it and cleaned out some debris from the seal and solved the leak. We also bought a very loud airhorn since it's impossible to drive without one and it served us well later on with the flocks of sheep, horses, camels and cows on the trails in Mongolia. Crossing the border into Mongolia was very very slow and difficult. As a result all time controls were cancelled and we used the time to get up to speed on gravel. As we approached camp, our left rear wheel came away from the car ! This is due to the design of the 504 live axle. The bearing is held on by a cold pressed collar and the collar had failed, allowing the bearing and consequently the axle to fall out. Luckily it was only part way out, and we were only a few miles from camp. We got a ride in on the photographer's truck and the Nomad support team
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This was all a bit of a blur. As we entered the special stage in Murun, we lost the right rear wheel as around 100 kph. We hit the ground pretty hard with a broken shock, broken rear brake and the same collar failure. We were angry with ourselves for not having welded both sides, but that was only in hindsight. A passing Mongolian family took me in their Subaru back to Murun to find a welder. Dean stayed with the car, replacing the shocks and capping the brake line and getting increasingly worried about being stranded in the desert. I eventually made it back with the welded axle and were were thirty seconds from victory when the jack failed and dropped the car on the ground !! Luckily a passing Mongolia UAZ lent us their jack, and combined with the Subaru jack we got the car lifted and rolled into camp around midnight.