After 8500 miles (13680 km) of driving adventure the greatest of endurance rallies has reached its terminus in Paris for the 7th time. Gerry Crown and Matt Bryson have walked away as overall winners. This is their third victory, making it a ‘Triple Crown’ in an event they have really made their own, speaking of their achievement. Rally veteran Crown, 87, had this to say: “Our third win in the Leyland was the toughest yet but it was also very enjoyable. What we really needed though was a few more 87-year old’s in the field to keep me company. I must also congratulate the organisers for keeping the spirit of the rally alive, it’s the Blue Riband event of the historic world and it needs to be tough”
The win in the Vintage category for pre-war cars has gone to Graham and Marina Goodwin, after a hard-fought battle, eventually beating Artur Lukasiewicz (PL)and Bill Cleyndert (GB) by 5 minutes. Graham, delighted with his and his wife’s win at the first attempt, told us of his pride at crossing the line in a Bentley: “It means so much to win in a Bentley in Bentley’s 100th year. The event was stressful but thankfully we had a bit of good luck which everyone needs. It was tough leading the event for so long and seeing your lead slowly coming down.”
Regardless of their place in the standings though, all who have reached their journeys end at Place Vendome, Paris, have achieved something great. Travelling halfway around the world, in vintage and classic cars, traversing some of the toughest roads the worlds largest landmass has to offer is no small feat. All crews battled fatigue, the weather, mechanical issues and the emotional stress of completing such an epic endeavour against the clock.
The finishers roster contains many personalities and characters, but special mention must again go to Patrick Debussere (B) and Bernard Vereenooghe (B), winners of the spirit of the rally award. The self-titled “Dodge Brothers” from Belgium have both been a constant source of entertainment throughout the rally, despite tough conditions, Patrick had these thoughts upon receiving his accolade: “We had enormous fun and we decided three years ago to do the rally, the fun started with the car prep’ social media has been great for us. It’s adventure and this must be fun for every waking hour. We hope you enjoyed last night’s party”
The Ghost of Auguste Pons Laid to Rest as Gonnissen and Gelan Cross Line in 1907 Contal Mototri History was made and an historic journey completed as Anton Gonnissen(B) and Herman Gelan (B) completed the event on a three wheeled Contal Mototri, finishing the journey started, but not finished, by Auguste Pons in 1907.
Sitting at the front of the Contal, in the ‘suicide’ seat was Gonnissen’s navigator, Herman Gelan. It is a position few would wish to be in, but for 8500 miles he had a unique view of the rally: “In my seat I was closer to nature than any of the other competitors and the sheer beauty of the route and the surroundings are what will stay with me for a long time.”
Distance Records Set as 1910 White MM Pullman Steam Car Crosses Line in Paris
There was a potential record set by Mitch Gross and Christopher Rolph in Gross’ 1910 White MM Pullman steam car. If driving halfway around the world in a 109-year-old vehicle isn’t hard enough, to complete it in one powered by a steam engine must be doubly difficult. It is perhaps the longest journey ever completed by a steam car.
1. Graham Goodwin – Marina Goodwin
2. Artur Lukasiewicz – Bill Cleyndert
3. Keith Ashworth – Norah Ashworth
1. Gerry Crown – Matt Bryson
2. David Danglard – Susan Danglard
3. Chris Bury – Tjerk Bury
Peking to Paris in Numbers
Distance Travelled: 8500 Miles/ 13680 km
Number of Countries Crossed: 12
Number of Time Zones: 8
Duration of Rally: 36 Days
Number of Entries: 106
Nationalities Represented: 20