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Father-and-son Tom and Daniel Kinahan of Kelowna are either insane or inspired.
Not only are they set to drive 14,250 kilometres in the Peking to Paris Motor Challenge in a quirky, 61-year-old car, but they intend to use it as a springboard to raise $1 million for charity.
"It's the longest and most gruelling classic car rally in the world," said Tom, a urological surgeon who practices in Kelowna.
"So, it will be the experience of a lifetime."
But, that still doesn't fully explain: Why go on this expensive and arduous journey and set such a high fundraising goal?
"Because Daniel wants to do it," explained Tom with a laugh.
"The Peking to Paris will mean I'm side-by-side with my son for 45 days. That kind of time together we'll never get again."
Daniel, 24, now lives in Montreal and works in healthcare information technology.
But it was in 2019, when he was going to the University of Victoria, that he heard of Vancouver Island brothers John and Chris Beresford doing the Peking to Paris.
Daniel's interest was piqued and he put the bug in his dad's ear.
Ninety-five teams of two (driver and navigator) from 31 countries are entered to do the 8th running of the Peking to Paris Motor Challenge, May 18 to June 23, 2024.
Tom and Daniel are the only Canadians and the first ever team to attempt to do so in an Austin Cambridge A60.
The Peking to Paris is a rally for vintage and classic cars only, manufactured before 1976
The father-and-son's Cambridge is the 1962 model, a sentimental touchpoint for Tom because the first vehicle he ever owned was a 1960 Austin Cambridge A55 that he purchased in 1976 for $100.
Tom bought the 1962 model eight years ago in Vancouver for $3,000.
The car has undergone quite the transformation -- in fact, a $120,000 overhaul to morph from a 62 horsepower, automatic transmission weakling into a rally-ready, 110 horsepower, 4-speed manual transmission with overdrive, new engine and new drive train.
Even with upgrades the Cambridge is not a fancy, performance car, but it is sturdy, reliable and simple, attributes expected to help it endure the conditions and complete the distance.
While modification is allowed for the rally, organizers draw the line at fuel injection and disc brakes.
To add to the expense, the entry fee for the Peking to Paris is a whopping $105,000.
"All that for a car that will inevitably break down along a route where we'll be camping in the middle of nowhere," said Tom with a laugh.
Using the rally as a fundraiser for charity isn't a requirement of the Peking to Paris, but about one-third of the teams do.
Tom and Daniel have set the ambitious goal to raise $1 million for the Canadian Men's Health Foundation to support young men with mental health issues.
"It's the perfect charity for this -- it involves men and cars," said Tom.
Individuals and corporations interested in donating can contact Tom directly for information at email@example.com.
The Peking to Paris is based on the original 1907 endurance rally that only five cars did and Prince Scipone Borghese of Italy won.
The 2024 running is still meant to be the ultimate test of both vehicle and crew across the world's largest and most isolated land mass.
The route meanders through nine countries -- China, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey, Greece, Italy and France -- and through eight time zones, forcing teams to also juggle passports, visas and foreign driver's licenses to cross borders.
There are two water crossings by ferry -- the Caspian Sea from Kazakhstan to Azerbaijan and the Adriatic Sea from Greece to Italy.
Much of the route has no roads and no directions and teams camp along the way in the Gobi Desert and the vastness of Kazakhstan.
Tom expects to do most of the driving while Daniel navigates.
"Navigating is actually the most important job," said Tom.
"We'll be using GPS, SpotTracker satellite and directions the organizers give us."
Besides covering the actual distance from Peking to Paris in 30 days, there are various tests along the way such as time-and-distance challenges, hillclimbs and closed-course races.
It's a given that your car is going to break down along the way, so teams bring parts and at least one has to be a decent mechanic (Daniel).
Winners will be crowned in four categories -- pre-WWI vehicle, pre-WWII, vintage and classic (Tom and Daniel's class).
There's no prize money, just a plaque if you win and the thrill and satisfaction of completing the feat.
Tom and Daniel are both car enthusiasts and have rally experience, but mostly day and a few multi-day rallies in the Lower Mainland, nothing of the scale of the Peking to Paris.
"We're going into this confident," said Tom.
"It's going to be an epic trip."
The Peking to Paris is organized by England-based HERO-ERA (Historic Endurance Rally Organization and Endurance Rally Association), which also puts on other rallies such as the Flying Scotsmen, Arctic Midnight Sun in Scandinavia, London to Lisbon, Pearl of India and the Sahara Challenge.