“Si l’aventure vous paraît parfois dangereuse, essayez la routine… elle est toujours mortelle !” Paulo Coelho
The Peking to Paris Motor Challenge goes back to the year 1907, when the French newspaper Le Matin challenged the European automakers to show that ‘modern’ cars could be more than just a novelty for the rich. They were asked to drive from Bejing to Paris on a route with barely no roads. People thought the race was impossible and only five participating vehicles were registered: a Dutch Spyker, two French Dion Boutons, an Italian Itala and a three wheeled Contal Mototri with the bravest driver of them all, Auguste Pons.
The story of Auguste Pons in the 1907 P2P is a short one. He stranded without petrol early in the race in the Gobi desert and could not be retrieved by his fellow competitors because they were ahead of him. Auguste Pons and his co-pilot Oscar Foucauld walked back to Bejing what nearly cost them their lives. The Contal remained in the desert.
This story inspired me to throw in everything I learned from former adventures in order to bring Auguste Pons home, to Paris, after 112 years. When I mailed my intentions to the race director of the Endurance Rally Association, he wrote me back: ‘Anton, you are mad’. I replied: ‘indeed, I am’.
per ardua ad infinitum
Starting June 2ndto July 7th 2019, 115 car enthusiasts will be competing for 36 days and more than 8.600 miles in the greatest classic motoring event in the world. I will be leaving Peking bearing number 1, together with my friend Herman Jr Gelan, seated on a Contal Mototri (Moto-tri which stands for three-wheeler).
You will be able to follow my preparations for the rally on this blog if you push the ‘follow button’. To see the list of participants and more general information you can go to https://www.endurorally.com/events/the-7th-peking-to-paris-motor-challenge/
Wish us luck, we will need it.
Anton Sr Gonnissen & Herman Jr Gelan
Contal Mototri #1 – Peking to Paris 2019