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