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From Hamburg to Hong Kong in 61 Days

Jens and Martina Kriegshammer took part in a rally that took them more than 15,202 kilometers from Hamburg to Hong Kong. Their reliable partner: a 5th generation Volkswagen Transporter.

The rally combines work and sightseeing: Martina and Jens Kriegshammer in Hong Kong.

14teams in 14 classic cars from Germany and Switzerland – and among them, Martina and Jens Kriegshammer in a T5, built in 2007. From August to October, the married couple, who work for Volkswagen in Wolfsburg, were on the road from Hamburg to Hong Kong as part of the rally. They exchanged their annual leave and overtime hours for a once-in-a-lifetime experience. A whirlwind adventure, at times far removed from all civilization, led the couple to their destination through a total of eight countries and four times zones.

Nine wild weeks without running water and heating

It can only be explained with a thirst for adventure and a passion for cars. They are adventurers, not package holiday tourists, says Martina with a smile. And it’s no exaggeration: those nine weeks were defined by many hours in the car, communication via language apps, and often Spartan accommodation without running water or functional heating. But also by untouched nature, amazing experiences and the knowledge that every car can be made ship-shape again somehow. At least for someone like Jens Kriegshammer. He works in Development at Volkswagen in Wolfsburg. For the wildest nine weeks of his year, he was working as a mechanic on the classic car rally from Hamburg to Hong Kong. “It all started at a trade fair, where I got into conversation with the event organizer. I already joined the tour from Hamburg to Shanghai in 2016,” explains the 52-year-old.

Loyal companions and vast expanses: even in the Chinese hinterlands, they could rely on the T5. There the odometer hit the 300,000 kilometer mark.

Jens: a mechanic with heart and soul

A trip where, in addition to an interpreter, doctor and travel guide, a car professional is always needed. Since his apprenticeship in car mechanics, now car mechatronics, the Wolfsburg native has loved tinkering and playing with cars. Particularly classic cars. “There’s a lot you can do yourself – in fact, you have to. Because spare parts are often no longer available.” Clutch, cardan shaft, ignition: there’s always something. His working hours during the rally were easily in the three figures, as he spent his days working on or under faulty cars.

Two true companions were always at his side on the trip to the Far East: one of them was his wife, Martina, who works in the Group’s environmental department, and the other was the T5, with all-wheel drive, auxiliary heating, cruise control and 96 kW/131 bhp. Another luxury: the fault display. Jens’ motto: the more technology, the more risk. That’s why the couple decided against central locking and electric windows when making their purchase.

In China, they celebrated the van’s 300,000 kilometer mark, while the engine, gearbox and shock absorbers are all still original. “A fantastic car. We didn’t have a single breakdown,” says Martina, knocking on wood. They trusted the car more than the developers themselves. Surely no developer has ever been to 5,500 meters, remarks Jens. Yet their car overcome this challenge, too.

Martina had her apprehensions about the altitude in Tibet before the trip. But it was also one of the reasons why she decided to accompany her husband, The thin air on the northern side of the Himalayas was not a problem in the end, and she was touched by the landscape and the people. “My expectations were exceeded. The pristine nature is simply beautiful. We even visited the base camp of Mount Everest,” says the qualified foreign language correspondent.

Martina and Jens Kriegshammer at the Mount Everest base camp, 5,200 meters above
sea level. In Tibetan, the highest mountain on earth is called Mount Qomolangma.

Stopover at the Chinese plant in Foshan, including a guided tour.

But the stops in Poland, where they stopped in front of the plant in Poznan and showed the T5 its birthplace, Russia, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan were just as impressive.
The longest part of the journey was spent in China, where at the Foshan plant, they were given a guided tour.

At the end of November, the ship transporting their car back from Hong Kong will arrive in Germany, although the two have been back at work since mid-October. Many new memories, a full inbox and “finally herring again,” says Jens with a laugh. As wonderful as traveling the world may be, home for them is in northern Germany.

On tour on a bamboo raft near the Chinese city of Yangshuo. During the one-hour trip
they were met with six barrages, including wet clothing and lots of fun.

They are already cooking up their next plans: “We would like to drive the Pan-American highway. We haven’t been to South America yet. And I would certainly take the T5 again; it has more than passed the acid test. To take two or three more team over the Andes would be great.” And then the two put out a call: interested drivers with their own car are welcome to get in touch with Martina and Jens Kriegshammer.