K2K and the Toyota Land Cruiser, in their own words

See also:
Classic Toyota Land Cruiser set to cross Continents for charity – Part 1
Classic Toyota Land Cruiser crosses Continents for charity – Part 2

On 26 May 2014, Chris, Domenic and Laurie left Kabul with a motor cycle and a classic Toyota Land Cruiser for a journey that will last, if all goes to the plan, about five weeks: the K2K team plan to arrive at the Ace Café in London on Sunday 22nd June, before heading to Goodwood for the Festival of Speed on the 23rd, Monday.

It took a few days to get in touch with them: “We’re about to cross the Caspian Sea so will have no comms,” said Chris when we attempted contact last week.

But since then they’ve crossed into Georgia, so we grabbed a quick word about how the trip is going. Here’s the story so far, as spoken by the team…

Chris Short, team leader and founder of Shorsec Racing:

“The whole trip has been an absolute eye opener. I think overall, the highlight was pulling into Aktau after a few days of demanding off-road work and resting over a cool beer. 

“The warmth, interest, and kindness of the people we’ve met on our journey. It’s been staggering.

I created the K2K rally for two reasons: firstly through a love of exploration, travel, and motor sports, and secondly as a mechanism to raise money and awareness for Mission Motorsport, a veterans charity that rehabilitates and reintegrates veterans using creative therapy through motor sports.

“[It’s been] endless miles of bone crunching off road. At least 70% of our journey so far has been hard off roading.”

On the Toyota Land Cruiser:

“The Land Cruiser is a legend. It allows me the confidence to really hammer through the off road sections on the motorbike safe in the knowledge that should anything go wrong. Whether it be mechanical failure or something more serious, with the Land Cruiser we have the load capacity to carry all of the equipment we need to cater for almost any eventuality.”

Domenic Senger-Schenck, support driver and full-time lawyer in Afghanistan

“The highlight so far has been rolling into Aktau. This marks the end of the roughest roads, and we had a couple of days of completely exhausting driving to get here. 

“Reaching Aktau was a milestone, letting us know that both we and the vehicles could make it, no matter what.

“The waiting [is tough]. After gearing up for the trip and tearing across the first few thousand kilometers of hard driving, it is agony waiting for the ferry to take us across the Caspian.

“The biggest surprise has been the lack of surprises. We expected to be hassled by the authorities in Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, but so far people across the board have been nothing but welcoming and helpful. It has been an absolute pleasure meeting farmers, students, checkpoint police, etc. Everyone is curious and eager to sign the truck and wish us good luck on our trip.”

On the Toyota Land Cruiser:

“The Land Cruiser is a beast. It has handled the toughest roads I’ve ever been on, much better than me, and is in absolute terrific running condition.“

Laurence Cameron, documentary maker:

“Uzbekistan was an unexpected delight, despite being a police state in every sense of the word, the people were overwhelmingly friendly and curious about the vehicle and the trip. The roads weren’t perfect, there were plenty of interesting sights to see along the way. The historic town of Bukhara, with its charming old buildings, was a particular delight.  

“The roads through rural Kazakstan had disintegrated to the point where every inch of the vehicle (and those inside) were being violently shaken for hours on end. Best described as driving on a dried up riverbed, the loose rocks and broken tarmac combined with the relentless wind and fine dust made progress painfully slow” 

“It was sometimes easier just driving through the surrounding desert itself, risking deep sand and mud for a brief respite from the shaking.”

“The complete lack of diesel in Uzbekistan [was a surprise]. We didn’t come across one fuel station that supplied it from the pumps. All our diesel had to be obtained on the black market: old containers stored away in sheds, or brought in from helpful locals when we stopped for the night. We couldn’t guarantee the quality of the fuel but luckily the vehicle had no issues with it.”

On the Toyota Land Cruiser:

“Aside from a small radiator leak in Uzbekistan, which was easily fixed, the Land Cruiser hasn’t missed a beat. Some small aftermarket fittings have worked themselves loose on the rougher roads, which is hardly surprising given the relentless vibrations from the road surface. It’s always nice to park up at the end of a long days driving and be confident that after bedding down for the night the vehicle will be capable of dealing with any abuse we throw at it the following day.”

When they’re not “out at sea”, the K2K team updates its Twitter feed.

By Dan Strong

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