We awoke with the disheartening knowledge that the next 130km to Altay would be a continuation of the previous nights ordeal and we now know why teams are advised by GoHelp to enter Mongolia through the border north of Ulaanbaatar, in order to minimise driving on Mongolian roads! Progress was slow, with a tentative maximum speed of 15mph, and the requirement to assess every bump and dip in the road bigger than a pea. Despite the dire conditions we soldiered on, with only one or two bumps to the heads of the guys on the back seats.
Endeavour arrived into Altay around 3pm and to our relief we immediately saw a sign pointing to a “Mongol Rally Garage”. Of course we went straight there and were greeted by a few other teams from the Mongol Rally, all of whom were fixing problems that were minor in comparison to our catastrophe. Before we were even out of the ambulance a mechanic already had his head underneath and with a small amount of miming from Ian it was pretty clear that the mechanic knew exactly what we wanted – send the damned air suspension into oblivion and weld on some deliciously cushy springs. Presumably they had seen this exact same problem many times before as they were advancing very swiftly with the removal of the air springs and tank.
Feeling particularly un-needed by the mechanics we set out to look at what Altay had to offer. it is fairly large town by Mongolian standards, housing probably a few thousand at a push. A few small convenience stores provided us with provisions! Meanwhile back at the garage the mechanics were welding custom spring shocks. No measuring device was used and four almost identical shocks were built and fitted to the rear in about four hours. This allowed us to drive out of Altay and find a suitable camping spot.
The 20 minute drive out of Altay was like riding a cloud, compared to the headache inducing bumpiness the morning gave us, all the way to campsite on top of a rather large hill. That night we were provided with our best views of the stars yet which were completely mind blowing.