6 days in to the 2017 Mongol Rally. Some of the Ralliers have been preparing for this for years. They've got all the kit, know exactly where they're going and what they're doing. On the other hand some of them have done pretty much nothing more than turn up. You can usually tell them apart.
Don't forget your papers
Team Bullseye managed to get to day 4 before realising they had no vehicle paperwork:
"I think our team might have a slight setback. We're going back to England!
We left our V5 there and have to go back to pick it up. One of us is flying back from Sofia (Bulgaria) Saturday and gets back Monday, where the journey will carry on.
It's an exciting change of plans, but we won't make it to the beach party. Enjoy it you lucky bastards. We'll catch up with you later on."
They weren't the only ones with missing paperwork. While everyone else was ripping across Europe, George from Hijet Heroes was battling bureaucracy at The Russian Visa Centre back in London.
Week 1 is of course the week of the Czechout and Romanian beach parties. Think of them as a reward for making it through the tarmac and sensible road rules of Europe. Of course not all teams make it that far. Some of them barely make it out of Goodwood. Aussie team Kublai Kooks can count themselves in that number.
Not one to turn down a challenge, Andy from Kublai Kooks tried to surf his car. He wasn't 100% successful...
They weren't to be slowed down by a slightly broken windscreen though, they left the slowing down for Day 2, somewhere outside of Brussels. At a loss to work out why their car wouldn't start. It turns out a family of mice had made their home in the dashboard and had been chewing on the wiring.
Also in the 'nearly falling at the first hurdle' category were Team Popemobile, Ratpack, Plight of the Conchords, Soviet Rocket, Tin Snail & Ale, No F in Hope, Carbonara Mariachi, The Picnic Club and Taking Care of Business.
Of course a little breakdown doesn't mean the end of the Rally. It just gives you an opportunity to test your bush mechanic skills. as illustrated perfectly here by Manuel the Miracle Maestro and Misplaced Vikings
Yep. As we said. A well deserved party. The final respite before things really get tough.
And if you thought we were joking when we said the going was about to get tough, you only need to look at this chap from Team Picnic Club half way through said party. Sadly it's only going to get worse. Or better, depending on which side of the updates you're sitting.