Pek­ing to Paris: win­ning ‘the im­pos­si­ble’

New Zealand and Aus­tralian teams vic­to­ri­ous af­ter 8500 clas­sic miles

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - This Week - ❚ Pho­tog­ra­phy by Ger­ard Brown

a gru­elling month-long clas­sic rally across 11 coun­tries and 8500 miles has been won by a Dat­sun 240Z and a chrysler 75 road­ster.

Kiwi fa­ther and son team Bruce and Harry Wash­ing­ton picked up the prize for the pre-1941 Vin­tageants cat­e­gory in their Chrysler (above), while Dat­sun-driv­ing Aus­tralians Mark Pick­er­ing and Dave Boddy won in the pre-’75 Clas­sics.

Harry was awarded the event’s Philip Young Cup in recog­ni­tion of be­ing the best per­form­ing novice en­trant. He says: ‘Each coun­try was like its own rally. Once you crossed the border, you never knew what you were go­ing to get.

‘I’m so proud of my dad for the re­sult. I’d go back and do it all again to­mor­row.’

The 107 crews tak­ing part set off from the Great Wall of China a month ago and since then have bat­tled against the Gobi Desert and across Rus­sia be­fore their drive across East­ern Europe to­wards the fin­ish in Paris.

Rally di­rec­tor Fred Gal­lagher says he’s al­ready plan­ning the fol­low-up event, which will head through Azer­bai­jan, Tur­key and Greece on a new route be­tween China and the French cap­i­tal.

‘Prince Borgh­ese, the very first win­ner of the Pek­ing to Paris, said it was driv­ing the im­pos­si­ble. I’m sure all of our crews would agree, but they ar­rived in Paris to a heroic wel­come and should all be very proud of what they have achieved.

‘ The spirit has been fan­tas­tic, with friend­ships forged that will last a life­time. An amaz­ing ex­pe­ri­ence for all of us.’

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