“Peking to Paris” Book Has A Different Look At The Rally

I recently finished reading Dina Bennett’s new book about competing in the 2007 Peking to Paris Motor Challenge.  The book is aptly named “Peking to Paris” about “Life and Love on a Short Drive Around Half the World.”

Many books about car rallies seem to discuss how tough the rally was, but they ultimately conclude that the participants enjoyed it.  I did not get that feeling from this book.  Bennett had no rally experience before agreeing to compete in this long, tough rally.  It seems that she really did not know what to expect before she, along with her husband Bernard, started the rally in their 1940 LaSalle Series 52 Coupe, which they named “Roxanne”.


Author Dina Bennett With “Roxanne”, The 1940 LaSalle Series 52 Coupe

Due to what seemed to be a lack of focus by the car’s builders, the Bennett and her husband never really got a good opportunity to stress test the car before the rally.  As it turns out, there was a fundamental flaw with the rear suspension that caused them problems almost from the start of the rally.  This almost constant struggle with the car, took much of the enjoyment out of the rally for Bennett and her husband.


Bernard Gateau, Somewhere In Mongolia

The story is mostly about the people who they met in the rally, as well as those that they met along the way.  It is a personal story and I think that it is a story that everyone who is contemplating entering a long distance rally should read.  It outlines the physical, mechanical, and social issues that must be dealt with in a long rally.


A Rare Ramp in Mongolia Is An Opportunity For Repair

There is very little information about the competitive side of the rally which I found somewhat surprising, but it is consistent with the book’s focus on the personal journey of entering this rally.  In summary, it is a good story about what to expect in a tough, long distance rally.


I Still Don’t Know The Story Behind The Book’s Cover

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3 Responses to “Peking to Paris” Book Has A Different Look At The Rally

  1. John Quam says:

    As a participant of the Peking to Paris Rally, I wanted to inform you of an upcoming 2014 auto adventure following the original route of George Schuster and the Thomas Flyer on the original1908 New York to Paris Great Race.

    Please refer to the press release below for complete details on this exciting automotive tour. As a person who has a passion for automotive adventure, it would be great to have you on the tour.

    Press Release

    Automotive Adventure of a Lifetime

    By John Quam
    July 1, 2013

    San Francisco, CA – Longest Auto Race World Tour Group has just announced a once in a lifetime world driving adventure from San Francisco to Paris, celebrating the 1908 New York to Paris Great Race. Departure from San Francisco is May 9, 2014. Starting in Japan, the tour will travel through Russia, China, the Baltic States, through Europe ending in Paris.

    Deemed the greatest automobile event in history, four countries with six cars competed in the original race including the United States, Italy, France and Germany. In the end, the race was won by the American teamheaded by George Schuster driving a 1907 Thomas Flyer.

    Partnering with Seattle based MIR Corp, an award winning specialty tour organizer, the tour has been meticulously researched to follow the original route driven by Schuster and the American team. Many events have been run relating to the Great Race, however, this is the first to duplicate the original Schuster route.

    There are a limited number of positions available for you to drive into the history books. Any type or age of vehicle is eligible ; from antique/vintage to modern including, motorcycles and hybrids.

    For more information, including the complete itinerary and driving route, visit the Longest Auto Race World Tour at http://www. larworldtour.com or contact John Quam at650-296-9252 or Luke Rizzuto at 408-590-2946.

    • Hi John,
      This does appear to be quite an adventure. It would be interesting to document the changes to the roads (paths?) since 1908 especially in the Far East. Allowing all types of vehicles to join your tour makes it much easier for people to take part.

      Steve McKelvie

      • John Quam says:

        Hey Steve

        Thanks for the reply. I would appreciate it very much if you could pass the press release on to Dina and Bernard and anyone else you know that may have an interest in this type of automotive journey……it’s going to be a great adventure!!!



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