The Peking to Paris Classic Motoring Society of NZ Challenge 2007 was an adventure-rally in celebration of the 100th Anniversary of the first-ever trans-continental motor-marathon
On Sunday 10th June 2007, the flag fell at the start of a celebration of a remarkable birthday. The pioneers who ventured out 100 years ago had no known roads for the first 5,000 miles, so had no maps, no petrol stations, and no mechanics placed at points along the way. Nobody expected them to survive and nobody in any authority would assist. There was nothing to help guide their navigation, other than keeping the sun on their backs as a way of ensuring they must be going north. Once you hit the trans-Siberian railway line – and there’s the Gobi Desert to cross before finding that – well, all you do is count down the telegraph poles to Moscow. Simple, really. Except it is 1907, and nobody has been much further down the road than the next town.
Our route was totally authentic, in terms of driving conditions and places visited, taking cars northwards through the Great Wall of China, through the Gobi Desert into Outer Mongolia, crossing the Steppes and vast grassy plains of Asia, into Russia and southern Siberia and on to Moscow….then northwards to St. Petersburg, and on into Europe to a party in Paris. Prince Borghese and the four other rivals of 1907, who set out to prove that “man and machine can now drive anywhere,” were so confident that frontiers could be rendered meaningless they set about a journey packed with so many adventures they gripped the attention of newspaper readers worldwide.
Out of China and out of the Gobi Desert, and once into Mongolia, our planned route turned west at Ulaan Baatar, and drove across the grassy plains and vast prairies first rallied by the chariots of Genghis Khan.
We drove into Russia , steered north-west to Moscow and then set out for St. Petersburg, the reckless off-route diversion that so tempted Prince Borghese in 1907 with his seven-litre Itala, which by now was running so faultlessly he dared to accept the invitation of a further long drive in order to let his hair down at a lavishly-organised party. You don’t get to come this way too often, he said, “the opposition are a long way behind so we’ll risk it – and still be first to the champagne.”
Our survivors who reached Paris sat down to a sumptuous gala-dinner. Prince Borghese and his foe Charles Goddard were cheering from their graves at the way we celebrated their brave audacity – which once again inspired a rare bunch of drivers to storm the adventure-roads that run all the way from Peking to Paris.
A 3 hour video from the Camera of Kevin and Sandra is now available contained in a glossy publication of Sandra’s daily diary notes, team photo and Itinary.
Email us for a copy, $49.95 plus $5.00 postage.