Peking-to-Paris lures Canadians
First transcontinental covers gruelling distance of almost 15,000 km
The Peking (now called Beijing) to Paris motor race (now called a rally) was the first trans-Continental motor-rally, covering a gruelling distance of 14,994 km (9,317 miles).
The idea for the race came from a challenge published in the Paris newspaper Le Matin on January 31, 1907, reading:
“What needs to be proved today is that as long as a man has a car, he can do anything and go anywhere. Is there anyone who will undertake to travel this summer from Peking to Paris by automobile?”
The second Peking-to-Paris did not take place until the summer of 1997, and has since grown into the Greatest Motoring Adventure and without question a bucket list event for any serious classic vehicle owner who enjoys rallying. This year’s event began on May 28 and concluded on June 29 travelling through Peking (Great Wall of China), Inner Mongolia (Gobi Desert), Outer Mongolia (Ulaan Baatar and Telmen Lake), Russia (Novosibirsk, Omsk, Tyumen, Samara) Ukraine (Kyiv, Lviv) Slovakia (Kosice, Bratislava), Austria (Schladming), Switzerland (Gstaad), France (Troyes, Paris).
The majority of the 100 entrants in four classes came from Australia, Great Britain, New Zealand, Switzerland and the U.S. A strong entry from Canada consisted of five vehicles, four from British Columbia and one from Alberta. They did extremely well with all finishing. I had the pleasure of inspecting the vehicles on behalf of FIVA (Fédération International des Véhicles Anciens) so they could obtain an identity card required to compete in International events.
There were 42 cars in the Vintageant Category (pre-1941 models). When they crossed the finish line in Paris, of the 42 cars in the class that completed the event, the four Canadian entries finished in the following order:
No. 26 Tony and Lee Strelzow in a 1936 Bentley DHC placed 4th winning a gold award
No. 33 Glen Duthie/Allan Cullen in a 1939 Cadillac La Salle placed 18th achieving a silver award
No. 21 John and Gary Anderson in a 1930 Model A Ford Cabriolet placed 22nd achieving a bronze award
No. 7 The Vancouver team of Jenny Mah/Loren Cocking in a 1928 Model A Ford Phaeton placed 34th achieving a bronze award
In the Classic Category — pre-1975 model cars, totalling 54 in the class, Canadian finishers included:
No. 95 Kim Widick/Lee Treeter from Alberta in a 1960 Chevrolet Impala placed 35th achieving a bronze.