That’s right. Tashkent has been our “official” half way point where we service the bikes and where the 2 guys that are doing “half-Marco’s” actually swap on the bike they’re sharing. So Phil has just flown home, having done his half of the trip and Selwyn flies in and takes over that bike.
But would you believe it! The bloody thing has spat the dummy 100km from Tashkent and our great engineering trio of Dave, Brendan and Bryan have been unable to fix the problem. But they have identified it – some microcircuit bit on the crankshaft that is the modern replacement for a distributor and points, telling the spark plugs when to fire – has given up the ghost. Obviously it’s a rare occurence because this bit has to be flown from Germany. Not even the NZ dealers keep it in stock.
The time delays have left us with a harsh management decision. We have a fixed date for entry to China that MUST be met. So if we hang about in Tashkent any longer we’re starting to crowd-out the time we have to travel the 1,800 km to the Chinese border. If we don’t allow any “head room” for problems along that route across the troubled border to Kyrgystan and the big mountain passes of that country, then we’re asking for trouble. Leave our departure from Tashkent too late and we have no cushion of time to enable any further problems to be rectified and still make the border.
So for Dave and I it’s been a tough couple of days balancing the conflicting needs. Poor Selwyn hasn’t even ridden a mile on his bike yet and the damn thing is immobile. He’s looking down the barrel at having to fly back to NZ because the needed part doesn’t arrive in time. We all hope it doesn’t come to that.
Our immediate strategy is to split the group – I’ll go on with a group of 4 bikes, and Dave will stay back with Selwyn waiting for this part to arrive by courier and hopefully be able to ride on later and catch us up. But there’s a drop-dead time for Dave as well. If the bit isn’t here by Tuesday he has to set out and leave Selwyn to ship the bikeback to NZ and fly home – without even having started his “half-Marco”. And even then there’s risk for Dave as well – to do 1,800 km plus this tricky, strife-affected border pass by yourself is not a risk free option. He could find the second half of his trip goes down the toilet as well. Bummer!
These decisions are about risk management. Wish them well.