After competing in the 2013 outing, Rod Wade will once again take on the world’s greatest motoring challenge – The Peking to Paris 2016
The first ever Peking to Paris event took place in 1907. It came about as a challenge in the Paris newspaper Le Matin on 31 January 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 race, as it was called, began from the French embassy in Peking on 10 June 1907. There were originally forty entrants, but only five actually started from Peking.
Shell supported the race with fuel dumps placed strategically in the Gobi Desert and regular reports were telegraphed from along the route by a very young Syd Stelvio who travelled with the press convoy.
The winner was an Italian, Prince Scipione Borghese who travelled along with a journalist Luigi Barzini. He arrived in Paris on 10th August 1907 in his Itala, having covered a distance of 14,994 km. His prize? A magnum of Champagne.
The ‘modern incarnation’ of the Peking to Paris was launched by Philip Young and his Endurance Rally Association in 1997. The ambitious route was 16000km long and took 45 days to complete. The Rally drove through China, became the first rally to cross Tibet and the Friendship Bridge into Nepal was opened especially for them as the Rally ploughed on through India and towards Pakistan. Some 95 cars took the start.
Ten years passed before the ERA ran another Peking to Paris in 2007 and this time the route was more true to the original one which Borghese set in that it crossed Mongolia and the Gobi Desert before pounding through Russia towards Moscow.
Such was the success of the 2007 event that the ERA settled on a plan to run P2P as a three yearly event and the subsequent 2010 and 2013 editions went down in legend in much the same way that the original did.
For 2016, the ERA is staying faithful to the original route in that Rod and his fellow 109 competitors cross the Gobi Desert and Mongolia before striking through Russia but instead of heading to Moscow, turn to Belarus and enter Europe through Poland where the rally has been so warmly welcomed in the past.
This will undoubtedly be the most extraordinary journey possible in a motor car.
For more information visit the Endurance Rally Association’s website at www.endurorally.com