The official photographer of the rally, Gerard Brown, recently posted his complete collection of Team Young Chevrolet and the Suburban on his website. Be sure to check it out–there are two great photos of the Keiths looking particularly scruffy from camping out in Mongolia!
Rally officials just posted the 22 minute long highlight video that was shown at the gala celebrating the rally’s finish. It is the short edit of the official rally film that will premiere on October 3 at the Royal Geographical Society in London. Enjoy and look for the Keiths’ appearances:
A little more than a week ago today, Team Young Chevrolet completed the journey of a lifetime to great fanfare and surrounded by exuberant family, friends, and onlookers in one of the most beautiful cities in the world, Paris! They arrived after an almost 120 mile drive from Troyes, which took approximately 4 hours, onto the streets of France’s capital. The route took them around the chaotic roundabout circling the Arc de Triomphe, along the historic Champs-Élysées, past Place de la Concorde (where King Louis XVI and Queen Marie Antoinette were beheaded during the French Revolution), and finally to the finish line in Place Vendôme. According to the rally report, the drivers and navigators were enthusiastically greeted all along the way: “[w]histles blew . . . someone sounded a trumpet . . . and everyone clapped. The survivors of the Peking to Paris drove through the streets of Paris . . . down the Champs-Élysées with girls in white T-shirts on roller skates escorting cars across traffic-lights, shoppers and children on the pavement stood and stared . . . then cheered . . .”
The welcoming of the Peking to Paris rally participants was reminiscent of Place Vendôme’s original purpose–first dedicated to Louis XIV’s military triumphs and home to a monumental column completed in 1810 by Napoleon Bonaparte commemorating France’s victory at the battle of Austerlitz. Many were on hand to celebrate the accomplishment of completing such a challenging journey. As the cars got closer to the finish, the crowd’s excitement was palpable–everyone squeezed in near the finish line and loud cheers reverberated once news spread that the cars had arrived in Paris and were beginning to round the corner!
The winners arrived first and were showered with their reward, a magnum of French champagne, under the Peking to Paris banner. The Australian Team #90 driving a 1973 Leyland P76 was the overall winner and winner of the Classic Category while the British team #30 in a 1937 Chevrolet Fangio Coupe won the Vintageant Category.
As each and every car crossed the finish line, hugs and kisses were exchanged and tears flowed from family members and the 172 finishers who had not seen one another in over a month.
Onlookers welcomed the rally participants by waving handmade signs rooting on their favorite teams as well as the flags of the 26 countries represented in the rally.
Many spouses, children, siblings, and friends eagerly jumped onto the vehicles as they entered the square!
The Young family and friends were jubilant when the #36 1940 red and black Chevrolet Suburban was spotted approaching the square. Towering over the other classic cars (and washed that morning), it crossed the finish line after 33 days of a long and arduous trip from Beijing, China.
After passing under the victory arch, the Suburban made its way through the crowds and parked in Place Vendôme along with the other 85 cars. Before they were shipped back home, all the cars spent the night in the historic and beautiful square.
Once the cars arrived, the crowds congratulated the participants, posed for pictures, popped champagne, and took a closer look at these impressive cars! Curious Parisians and tourists were delightfully surprised by the arrival and excitedly asked the drivers and navigators questions about their remarkable journey.
Following a family lunch in a traditional French brasserie and a long afternoon nap, the Keiths along with a few close family members celebrated the finish by attending a black-tie gala dinner hosted by the Peking to Paris rally organization. With almost 600 guests, the festivities were held in a beautiful, grand ballroom decorated in traditional French Baroque style. The gala opened with remarks by the rally director and a short 20 minute highlight video followed by a fabulous four-course French dinner.
The drivers and navigators were rewarded at the end of the night with one of the greatest awards of the rally . . . a good night’s sleep in a real, comfortable bed without any worries about where tomorrow’s drive would take them! The Keiths then enjoyed spending a week in Paris–a time of relaxation and a little sightseeing, surrounded by the loved ones they had been separated from for so long. Now, it is time to return home to usual routines after such an unusual routine of crossing deserts and mountains, coping with sandstorms and blizzards, and driving on goat tracks and through potholes across two continents and eight countries in a true test of courage, fortitude, spirit, and endurance!
Look for updates in the fall when the official rally video and book are released!
After driving 7,610 miles across China, Mongolia, Russia, Ukraine, Slovakia, Austria, Switzerland, and France, Team Young Chevrolet arrived in Paris at Place Vendome today at 1:51 PM Paris time! The trusty ole 1940 Chevrolet Suburban in the hands of the skillful driver Keith Young Jr. and talented navigator Keith Young Sr. finished in 12th place overall and 9th in the Vintageant category, winning a silver medal! It only took them 266 hours and 16 seconds over some of the roughest and most beautiful lands in all kinds of weather, including sandstorms, rain, extreme heat, extreme cold, and blizzards!
Stay tuned for more information to come but let’s first celebrate!
After driving 280 miles from their final stop in Switzerland, Team Young Chevrolet finally made it to their first destination in France in 10 hours, 58 minutes, and 37 seconds. With only one day remaining before they reach Paris, they are still running in silver medal status with an overall position of 12th and 9th in class. The route took them north through the Swiss Alps before they took part in the final time trial of the rally at a short racetrack located in the Swiss town of Lignières just shy of the French border. The Suburban made the 3 laps around the 0.8 circuit in 3 minutes and 37 seconds. The Keiths then crossed the border into France outside the city of Montbéliard and continued northwestward before heading west towards Troyes.
Finally, out of the cold up in the high mountain passes, the drive was through the beautiful French countryside but felt long since they are so close to the finish line in Paris.
There was only one hiccup of the day: the 1929 Ford Model A Speedster of the British team #15 had to be trucked into Troyes due to a broken water pump, but they are hopeful the car can make it to Paris after team #7 donated a spare water pump. According to the rally report, once they arrived in Troyes, “. . . there [was] a terrific atmosphere in the bar tonight as competitors breathe[d] a big sigh a relief that it now looks as if the survivors take in liquid refreshment for the struggle to get out of Troyes tomorrow on the final leg.” Perfectly describing the night’s festivities, rally officials said “[t]he atmosphere in the bar is as you would expect after an amazing month on the road, driving almost half way around the globe, crossing two Continents and the biggest single land-mass between two capital cities that has seen a full east to west crossing of the World’s greatest wilderness.”
Only 93 miles southeast of Paris located on the Seine River, Troyes is the capital of Aube department (the territorial area below the national and regional levels of government) within the Champagne-Ardenne region in north-central France. Over 61,000 people live in Troyes proper.
There is some archaeological evidence tracing the city back to the Roman Empire when it was known as Augustobona Tricassium and was a major settlement on the ancient Roman highway Via Agrippa, a 13,000 mile network of roads throughout Gaul (roughly covering the territory of modern-day France). During the Roman period, the predecessor to Troyes was the civitas (tribal capital) of the Gallic tribe Tricasses, which is where the city name drives. Legend has it that Saint Lupus saved Troyes from destruction at the hands of Attila the Hun in the 5th century. In the 9th century, the city became increasingly important after it was declared the capital of the Champagne area and was the site where Louis the Stammerer received his right to be French King by Pope John VIII. Throughout the Middle Ages, the city developed in conjunction with the cloth and metal trades. Underscoring its significance, John the Fearless who was the Duke of Burgundy tried in 1417 to make Troyes the French capital but was dissuaded by Isabeau of Bavaria, the wife of Charles VI of France. Having immense repercussions for the French throne, the Treaty of Troyes was signed in the city in 1440–it agreed that Henry VI of England would become King of France after the death of Charles VI. Following the treaty signed during the Hundred Years’ War between England and France, Charles VII along with Joan of Arc brought the city back under French control after a four day siege in 1429. In 1524, much of the city was destroyed by fire but was quickly rebuilt. During World War II in the summer of 1944, Troyes was liberated by the American General George Patton.
One of Troyes’ most important historic sites is the Troyes Cathedral known as Cathédrale Saint-Pierre-et-Saint-Paul de Troyes whose current Gothic structure began construction in 1200 and continued until the 1600s. As the seat of the Bishop of Troyes, the Cathedral was where the Treaty of Troyes was signed and Charles VII received mass after capturing the city in 1429.
Containing several palaces, half-timbered houses from the 16th century, and the Hôtel de Ville (town hall) on Place Alexandre Israël constructed in the Louis XIII architectural style, the Old Town of Troyes is also an important attraction in the area.
Next stop . . . a grand celebration in Paris! The champagne will definitely be flowing!
Just received this medley of photos from the Keiths.
After driving 325 miles through the Swiss Alps, Team Young Chevrolet arrived into the ski resort town of Gstaad in 11 hours, 11 minutes, and 18 seconds, which puts them in 12th overall and 9th in class. The route took them southwestward then north on narrow and steep roads across a high-altitude mountain range.
During the day, there were three separate time trials, which the Keiths participated in and received silver medal status on each one. Described by one of the competitors as one of the toughest days of the rally, the driving was rough and was made worse by a blizzard that they encountered at the top of one of the mountain passes. Still unable to replace the windshield wipers, Keith Jr. reported that they had to frequently stop to brush off the snow with a whisk broom. According to the rally report, “[j]ust as we thought we had seen every kind of extreme weather condition, we drove up a foggy mountain and found it was snowing at the summit.”
Several teams suffered brake failures caused by overheating the brakes going down the mountain roads. One competitor experienced altitude sickness and had to find a different route avoiding the top of one mountain pass. Rally officials reported that “[e]veryone was in high spirits and looking forward to the final drive to Paris. First of all there is the rest of Switzerland, with . . . the Swiss Automobile club intent on making sure the pressure is maintained. Our next stop is the medieval town of Troyes in France . . . south of Paris. There is a terrific atmosphere within the event this evening, and Troyes promises to be turned into one big party.”
Located in the German-speaking area of Bern Canton in southwestern Switzerland, Gstaad is a village with only 3,200 permanent residents at an elevation of 3,444 feet and has become one of the most popular ski areas in the Swiss Alps. During the 13th and 14th centuries, the village was established as a stop on the way to the neighboring cantons Valais and Vaud. As a resupply point, Gstaad developed with the founding of an inn, a warehouse to store the goods that were transported, and a place to get oxen to help move goods across the mountains. Completed by the end of the 15th century, the St. Nicholas Chapel was the religious center for the area. The village’s increasing importance for agriculture and livestock was stymied by a fire that devastated the entire village in 1898. However, it was quickly rebuilt but became more known as a tourist destination. With the construction of the railroad in 1905 and the establishment of the first ski clubs in 1905 and 1907, Gstaad flourished as “The Place” (according to Time Magazine in the 1960s) for skiing and a gathering spot for international celebrities. The first luxury hotel was built in 1913 but, during World War II, many of the large hotels closed in favor of smaller inns and rental properties. In keeping with the area, many of the buildings adhere to traditional Swiss architecture and are made of wood.
Underscoring its significance as a hotspot for the rich and famous, Gstaad’s residents and visitors have included Hollywood elite (like Madonna, Michael Jackson, Peter Sellers, Julie Andrews, Roger Moore, Roman Polanski, Elizabeth Taylor, and Grace Kelly), royalty (like Prince Rainier, Prince Charles, Princess Diana, and the king and queen of Spain), and wealthy business leaders (like Bernie Ecclestone, George Soros, Steve Wynn, and Valentino Garavani). You can now add Keith Young Sr. and Keith Young Jr. to the list! Catering to wealthy and famous clientele, the village’s main promenade has practically every high-end retailer you can think of, including Louis Vuitton, Prada, Ralph Lauren, Dolce & Gabbana, Dior, and Oscar de la Renta. In addition, Gstaad was one of the film locations for “The Return of the Pink Panther” and the hijinks of Inspector Clouseau . . . hopefully, the Keiths did not reenact any of Clouseau’s mishaps!