Peking-Paris takes on the Gobi
100 CLASSIC BATTLE IN THE DUNES: Competitors in the 2013 Peking to Paris race make their way from Mongolia to Russia. Image – Endurorally, Gerard Brown
ULAN BATOR, Mongolia - Earlier in May 2013, Wheels24 reported on 100 vintage and classic cars have set off on a month-long trek, starting from May 28 2013, from Beijing to Paris.
The Peking-Paris Motor Challenge will cover more than 12 000km across the Gobi Desert in Mongolia and on Russian back roads to Ukraine, Slovakia, Austria, Switzerland and, eventually, France.
FLOUNDERING IN THE SAND
After two days of driving from the Great Wall of China the competitive spirit of the race kicked in as participants reached Mongolia’s Gobi Desert.
Drivers faced two days of time trials with some classics conquering the desert while others were left playing in the sand.
In the Vintageants group of pre-war cars, Mike Reeves and Michelle Jana Chan topped the first event in their 1940 Ford V8 Coupe. They chalked up a -minute lead over rivals Phil Garratt and Kieron Brown (1937 Chevy Fangio Coupe) and Lars and Annette Rolner (1928 Bentley four-and-a-half).
Reeves/Chan completed the time trial in 1hr6min12, extending their overall lead to 37hr9min21. Garratt/Brown were second with 67min47 to an overall lead of 37hr16min25.
The Rolners finished third but still have a lead of 37hr17min42, just over a minute off the pace of the Chev.
In fourth and fifth places were Mani Dubs and Robi Huber (1932 Rockne Six 75) and Bill Cleyndert and Mark Van Hees (1929 Ford Model A Speedster).
Robbie Sherrard and Peter Washington (racing in the 1974 World Cup Rally-winning Citroen DS23) battled Gerry Crown and team mate Matt Bryson (1973 Leyland P76) in the Classics division. During the first trial Sherrard/Washington came out top; in the second Crown/ Bryson took the lead.
Ultimately Sherrard/Washington finished in a time of 7hr34min15 compared to Crown/ Bryson’s 7hr36min17. The pair was closely followed by two Volkswagen Beetles.
John and Brett Layzell (1970 VW Beetle) finished third, followed by Garrick Staples and Hayden Burvill (1969 VW Beetle). Fifth were Peter Lovett and Tim Smith (1965 Porsche 911).
WEAR AND TEAR
The harsh conditions played havoc with cars and their drivers. Many vintage vehicles suffered mechanical woes: a rare Chevrolet Stylemaster broke a half-shaft and a Mercury Park Ward was side-lined with transmission and axle issues, incurring maximum penalties.
The 2013 Peking-Paris Motor Challenge will finish in Paris on June 29.
The 2013 Peking to Paris race route
Peking – Great Wall of China
Mongolia – Gobi Desert, Ulan Batar and Telmen Lake
Russia – Novosibirsk, Omsk, Tyumen and Samara
Ukraine – Kiev and Lviv
Slovakia – Kosice and Bratislava
Austria – Schladming
Switzerland – Gstaad
France – Troyes and Paris