Through snow laden passes, collapsed roads, landslides, corrupt officials and some 6,000 miles, the GlobeBusters Silk Road motorcycle expedition has slithered their way across the Irkeshtam Pass into China.
This seventeen strong group had left the Ace Cafe some seven weeks before, knowing that what they were about to undertake was one of the world’s toughest motorcycle rides, but the reality was it was even more challenging that the Expedition Leader and Co-Founder of GlobeBusters, Kevin Sanders, could have imagined.
Speaking from Kashgar (China), Kevin said "Conditions have been far worse than when I did the research trip last year – politically Kyrgyzstan turned into a basket case, severe rains meant our road in Tajikistan was missing and late snow storms caused a white out trying to get the team across the Pass into China".
At one point Kevin was unsure whether they would even get as far as China, when the group seemed to be stuck in limbo at the Uzbek border.
"Heavy handed search techniques by corrupt officials made it pretty frustrating and both riders and their equipment were extensively searched. Ludicrously, we were trying to leave Uzbekistan, not enter it and it took us the whole day"
These are extremely testing conditions for a motorcycle group, some of whom who have never been on the road longer than a few weeks before.
Said Sanders, "This group of riders, especially the less experienced, have shown guts, determination and sheer grit to get through near impossible riding conditions at high altitudes and in freezing temperatures to arrive in China and still be in one piece. It’s a privilege to lead them".
The GlobeBusters Silk Road route has taken one of the highest altitude roads in the world – The Pamir Highway, it has tracked the Afghan border and has taken the riders across the rigorous police state of Turkmenistan. Not your average motorcycle tour.
The team now has a week in Kashgar to service bikes and complete the final formalities before entering Tibet, where, if all goes to plan, Everest Base Camp will see the largest number of British registered motorcycles ever to arrive at the foot of the world’s highest mountain.
Follow the Silk Road Expedition through the GlobeBusters Travel Blog on globebusters.com. For the most intrepid motorcyclists, a few final places remain on the Silk Road Expedition 2011.