Day 18 – Balkashino camp 7 to Kostanay

We awoke this morning in our tents wet with condensation and rainwater ingress. Although the sleep was good the festivities went on till the early hours of the morning. Strange people trying out karaoke, and failed miserably. It went on and those trying to get to their tents would (inadvertently) kick our tents guy wires and waken the occupants.

Some people don’t know when to give up and to think that we were to drive 588kms the next day, well.

Sleeping bags a little wet and the morning was cold. A nice sunny morning but cold.

Breakfast with some green tea, to keep the hands warm, and all is good.

Starting time was 9.25 am. A little late for the distance to be covered.

The start cate from camp 7. Pictures of the countryside

The first stop, after going through a deep water crossing was a ski circuit. An approx. 2 km concrete track through some bush surrounds. We had to do between 1.55 minutes and 5.55 minutes. We did it comfortably in 2.58 minutes. Denise liked this track.

Then onto the highway to do long distance but interspersed with 3 Sporting Time Controls.

The first was good but the Russian car sped past us and on wanting to pass the car in front miscalculated the distance and did a 180 degree spin and head back in the direction of the car he had overtaken then spun out onto the rut on the road to have lost a wheel and become stationary. Absolutely unnecessary and most dangerous. The driver has absolutely no fear. He just boots it and……. watch out.

So, onto the next two STC’s and again we did well in attaining the distance in the correct time. These roads ran through wheat fields. The dark earth was soft but the road was twisty so considering that the average speed was 80kph Steve had to work hard to keep the car on the road.

The endless roads and wheat fields. Blue skies. They have plenty of water here and can grow anything. Pleasant but boring driving. Can’t show pics during the rally across the fields as too busy doing other things

On the third STC one of the cars came off the road and into a valley on the side of the road. No one was hurt but the shock to the occupants must have been traumatic.

Driving these roads for the STC is hard on the drivers. Safety, speed and navigation.

Then a couple of hundred miles to drive to the hotel and be there at 5.50pm.

The roads ran straight for such distances through wheat fields. Thousands upon thousands of hectares of the finest arable lands, as flat as a pancake and for as far as the eye can see. There’s so much more that can be brought in too.

The country is rich in minerals, oil and agriculture. It grows many hectares of pine trees too. There’s no limit to what they can do, and they’re doing it.

The response to our arrival in the city’s town square this evening was amazing. They are so enthusiastic and a lot of people speak some English. That’s so different from the other towns and cities we’ve been to.

Arrival at the town square in Kostanay. We couldn’t drive though the throngs. We notice lots of young children in all of the places visited. They are well dressed and look like they’re well loved

Our hotel tonight is akin to the Soviet era hotels that one reads about a lot. It’s not good. The big mama sits in an office on each floor to keep order. It’ll do. We’ll be asleep in very short order.

Food was good though. Sleep will come easy tonight.

We go back across the border in the morning back to Russia.

A good day today.

4 thoughts on “Day 18 – Balkashino camp 7 to Kostanay

  1. Hi Corgi and Steve, Just a note to thank you for your very interesting journal and all the photos, about places that we are never likely to visit. Keep up the good work and keep safe. Kind Regards Bill and Shirley


  2. The first thing Mick and I do after waking up is reading your journal and looking at all the pictures. Hope all goes well for the rest of the rally. Denisse is the best. Hope to see you arrive in Liege. We will try to be there.
    Best for the both of you.
    Grace de Haas


  3. No muy bien! ….I know how you need your sleep – Steve better pinch you now & again to make sure you are awake on the job 🛣



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