The Mission

The Peking to Paris Rally is a recreation of the 1907 challenge issued by Le Matin, "Is there anyone who will undertake to travel this summer from Peking to Paris by automobile?"
The 2016 version will follow a route of 13,695 Km (8,510 miles) and take 35 days. We are travelling in Rhubarb and Custard, a 1936 Buick. We know nothing about cars or rallying.

Saturday, 7 May 2016

Reading Material

If you are thinking of undertaking the Peking to Paris Rally it's probably worth doing some reading around before signing up.

The ERA, who organise the Rally, publish a book after each event. The 2013 edition has great pictures but the text reads like a shopping list of which car is doing what.

'Turn Left for the Gobi' is another glossy book but this time written from the viewpoint of Phillip Haslam, a competitor in the 2007 event. This is how not to do it - the wrong car, bought on impulse and poorly prepared.  But despite everything they do quite well.

The original and definitive book describing the original rally  is Peking to Paris by Luigi Barzini.  It's out of print but plenty of second hand copies are around.

Border Crossing by Rosie Thomas is the biggest selling account of the trip and the one that seems to divide opinion. Thomas is is a  professional author and most reviews says she has captured the atmosphere but doesn't come across as a very nice person.  One reviewer says, "Careful guys, it's like going on a month long road trip with your wife..."

Dina Bennett is another American who has written about her trip.  The approach is humorous and written from the point of view of a hopelessly inept woman who shouldn't be on the rally. That's a bit fake because her background reveals her as having far more worldly and practical experience than (for example) I do.

Prince Borghese's Trail by Genevieve Obert follows the Nepal/Pakistan/Iraq route that is now impossible due to various conflicts along the way.

Allen Andrews' book The Mad Motorists is about the original 1907 race.  You might prefer this to the Luigi Barzini book mentioned above if you prefer a more modern writing style. 

How to Build a Successful Low Cost Rally Car is by Philip Young who founded the ERA and died last year.  Personally I think it's bonkers to imagine you can undertake P to P in a really low cost car but there are some great and practical tips in this book.

How to Win a Marathon Road Rally is published by the ERA and written by Alan Smith who is one of those lovely low key people you meet who just quietly know their stuff.  I keep a copy in my navigator's bag.

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