Day 39

8. June 2000, Zhangjiakou to Beijing

The Grand Finale is at the Great Wall today. In the morning, we have to line up in an order we receive from the Rally Office and keep driving in this order until the Great Wall. The order is basically, the London to Peking participants first and then the Around the World participants. Within the "Around the World" convoy, first all vintageants are lined up according to their ranking and then all classic cars according to their ranking. So we are the seventh car within the classics as two of the cars in front of us were "Peking" participants and are now dropping out. We are driving in a convoy until Beijing, so no penalties possible today - except for one German/French couple driving a Mercedes who manage to get a one-hour penalty and get their driver license withdrawn for disobeying police orders to stop at the designated fuel stop on the route.

We meet up with our family today and the weather and landscape is nice. So overall a very good day but we also are aware of the fact that we are not even halfway yet. On the other hand, the former Soviet states and China have been tough on us concerning such things as hotels, getting something to eat or just trying to watch TV in the evening.So we expect the third leg of our route to be more relaxing concerning that aspect while the competitive aspect is rumoured to be tougher in North America (as repairs can be more easily done).

Overall 1 hour 10 minutes penalty

The official results can be looked up on this website

Lining up for the "Great Wall Finish". An Irish Ford Mustang is nine minutes behind us. They have promised us that they will "get us". Quite possible, considering that they have a 5-litre-engine and that there are 40 more days. But so far we still have less penalty than they do, so they are behind us in line.

Arriving at the Great Wall, Claude and Silvie from France in front of us with their Mercedes 250 SL coupe.

Takatsugu and Sami in front of the Great Wall. Takatsugu has just won the "London to Peking" rally together with Kenji, both from Japan.


It is a very hot day, so the 33 degrees is probably not exact.

Reunited for a meal of Peking Duck: From top left clockwise: Sami, Ahmet, Ayla, Kaya, Sophia Lee, general manager of Busch Singapore, Sükriye, Ayhan and Karl


In front us, two Mercedes SL, a Lancia, a Peugeot 404, a Porsche and a Hillman Hunter. All from the mid-60s, all very powerful cars. Our only chance to overtake one of these is for them to make a navigation mistake or have a breakdown - this is how a rally works, after all, and the same thing could happen to us anytime. In any case, we are happy with our current rank.

Driving through the Great Wall at Badaling

Hills outside Beijing.

Beijing, a high-rise modern city, our father last saw Beijing fifteen years ago and remembers it as a huge collection of small huts and houses with dusty roads.