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.
Friday, 10 June 2016
Rally Day -2
Today we collected the cars from the kind of dodgy warehouse they used in Breaking Bad. The atmosphere getting off the coach was like seeing small children run downstairs to see if Santa Claus has come, and indeed he had because all the cars were ready and working.
Whilst some of us took a moment to look around and admire the line up it can't have been more than two or three minutes before the first engine started and a car pulled out to begin the return journey. When one of the big LaFrance's came to life the roar was shockingly loud - 35 days of that racket would probably send you deaf.
Rhubarb and Custard took so long to get going that the next coach load was arriving before we had turned the key and we were asked to move along by the Italian behind us.
We got as far as the control point just outside when we broke down with a flat battery. So much for the much vaunted Odyssey Battery. However, the newly installed jump start point under the drivers seat made the procedure painless and we were off. Stopping only to fill up with diesel along the route - shit! This is diesel and we need petrol. Fortunately only 2 litres of diesel went in the tank so no harm done. One of the rally photographers thought we had potential to be a good rally story. Hmmm.