Peking to Paris in an AMC AMX

Experienced rally veterans Jim Valentine and Jonathan Lodge have prepared a 1968 AMC AMX.

They’re entered in the classics category for cars over 2000cc in the Peking to Paris Rally 2016.

Progress can be tracked live on Spot.

Leaving Beijing on 12 June, 34 days and 13,625 kilometres later they arrive in Paris on 17 July, 2016.

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Mixed Emotions on Leaving

Michael Valentine's Memorial Stone

It’s been a time of confused and confusing emotions in the build up to leaving. Part of the problem is I don’t want to convey any doubts or fears to my family, friends, supporters and competitors. It seems important to project confidence, excitement and certainty to all and sundry.

Which doesn’t allow much space for your own internal dialogue of hopes fears and ambitions for the event. Also no one outside rallying really gets the demands an event like this makes – the test of machine, preparation, physical attrition, and how cruel dumb luck plays a part.  It’s felt a little lonely in the run in as a result – and lonely amidst a crowd of loving friends and family is a disquieting place to be.

I do feel like all my motoring experience and three years hard work have brought me to this point and I know the event will draw on everything I know. Jonathan and I are going to be tested at the highest level.  The unanswerable is how good are the other crews and if previous experience of this event will give some of them an edge.  If we fail it will not be because we didn’t try our very hardest.

Cusp of departure

Off to a tricky start, One hold bag overweight, comfy seats downgraded to less good ones, and Jonathan’s hold luggage down from Newcastle not on the plane when he arrived at Heathrow.

Sure we shall overcome…

Update bag still missing, sent on next flight but plane grounded after lightening strike, hope we catch up with it in Beijing. Jonathan flew down on the jump seat in the galley. Before landing the stewardess came and gave him a blanket, “bit hot today, what do I want that for?” says Jonathan. Turns out it was to catch the coffee that slips from the jugs on the top shelf on landing.

Our pre booked comfy seats not comfy, £498 upgraded, thanks to Jonathan who reckoned he’d had a shit enough journey already…

Flight delayed 40 minutes so far

Beijing pre event 9th June, 2016


Rural idyll on 34 th floor next to Hotel


Jonathan, dazed with jet lag, locates the mini bar


Jonathan discovers the hard way that the mini bar is in fact a decorative detail…


Briefing from the Chinese Traffic Police, translated haltingly at first and then with great confidence.  Speed limit on motorway is nearly 100kph apparently.  Communist Party of China golden rule for safe driving is regulation one: caution; regulation two: observation; regulation three: prudence.  Which as the rally director pointed out, spells COP.

And I shouldn’t be mocking the translator’s skills, you should have seen me trying to order dinner, luckily a lot of pictures in the menu.


Nearly all the crews assembled here for the briefing. Hopefully Jonathan’s bag will arrive tomorrow and we catch up with Geen at the warehouse.

Car collection


Excited schoolboys on the bus. Sir made us sit at the front.


I have seen photos of these La France Leviathans but they don’t prepare you for their size in the flesh. One wit quipped that somebody was doubling the shipping costs.  I’ve known smaller trucks.

Geen collected and we will start packing and fixing the suspension this afternoon, after a little nap of course.