B.C. father and son team up for Peking to Paris car rally

In 1907, the editor of a French newspaper issued a challenge to prove that the newly invented automobile was a viable form of transportation by driving one from China to France.

That editorial gave birth to what’s now known as the Peking (now Beijing) to Paris Automotive Challenge, a vintage endurance rally that despite being more than 100 years old has only been run seven times.

Now, after years of planning and thousands spent on automotive investment, a Kelowna father and son team are headed to Bejing to attempt the storied rally in their vintage British car.

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Here’s the story of Tom and Daniel Kinahan, who are getting revved up for the adventure of a lifetime.

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“My son and I are about to embark on the longest and toughest classic car rally in the world,” said Tom Kinahan.

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Billed as the last true endurance race for vintage and classic cars, the P2P rally is “14,500 kilometres, 37 days of toil of blood, of sweat, of grief,” said race communications director Tony Jardine.

The race will see competitors drive across eight countries, from the Great Wall of China to Place Vendome in Paris.

And the Kinahans will journey in a 1962 Austin Cambridge.

“They’re really a family sedan,” said Tom Kinahan.

“We’ve loved cars for a very long time, and this seems so fitting for us to be able to spend time together and work on cars and do something crazy,” said Daniel Kinahan, who came up with idea to enter the race.

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While hoping to avoid mechanical breakdowns along the route, the two will also be raising money for the Canadian Men’s Health Foundation.

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“We deal with issues that men face about health, eating, about when to talk to people about mental health conditions,” said foundation CEO Kenton Boston.

Asked about the odds of the Austin seeing the checkered flag, Daniel Kinahan said “100 per cent. I can’t see anything from stopping us reaching that finish line.”

While Daniel’s assessment is optimistic, Tom has tempered expectations after rolling the Austin this past winter.

“I don’t want to jinx myself,” said Tom, “but I think we’ve got as good as chance as any.”

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The Kinahans will arrive in Bejing this week, where their Austin has been patiently waiting after being shipped there weeks ago.

And, barring any last-minute problems, the duo will set off on their adventure of a lifetime this Friday from the Great Wall of China.

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For information on how to follow their trip, or to donate to the Canadian Men’s Health Foundation and help the Kinahans meet their $1-million goal for the foundation, go online to menshealthfoundation.ca.

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