The Peking to Paris Motor Challenge is a true endurance rally following in the wheel-tracks of the original pioneers of 1907. We're working with Rotary Polio by driving an old car nearly half way around the world with a bunch of like-minded enthusiasts, against the clock, makes this rally one of the toughest driving challenges for vintage cars.
The next Peking to Paris Motor Challenge will begin June 2, 2019. We will be there with Miss Vicky, our 1931 Ford Victoria, ready to challenge the wilds of Mongolia, Russia, and China to prove to you anything can be accomplished, even ending Polio!
The 2016 Peking to Paris Motor Challenge started from the Great Wall outside Beijing on Sunday, June 12th and finished 36 days later with a drive into Paris to cross the finish line in Place Vendome on Sunday, July 17th. Participants drove through the most adventurous region of Mongolia, crossing into Russia and on to the Republic of Belarus with exciting routes across Europe with closed-road mountain climbs in the Alps.
This is not a luxury trip, not by any stretch of the imagination. These participants must be prepared to rough it. Several days of camping in Mongolia’s Gobi Desert is part of the challenge, in a tent and the warmest sleeping bag. The days of driving are long, requiring personal stamina and determination.
This is our means of transportation, a Ford Victoria built in 1931. This model is unique because so few were ever made. Approximately 40500 of Henry Ford’s 4 Million Model A’s in all came off the assembly line beween 1927 and 1931. Many are still in operation.
Our Miss Vicky has been slightly updated and modified but much of the original equipment remains. She's received a new Endurance Engine from RK Designs, steel bearings, port and polishing, modern downdraft carburetor, K+N air filter, modern clutch, wiring harness and all connections soldered. The suspension remains unchanged from the one that came as standard equipment in 1931, which is likely to make for a very bumpy ride.
Both Lee and Bill are passionate about Rotary International's PolioPlus plan to eradicate polio from the world. They are not professional drivers or adventurers. They are both retired from long careers and are well established in their communities.
Bill Ward and Lee Harman will team up to drive Miss Vicky over 10,000 miles. They'd like to invite you to follow them on their journey and participate with a donation to Rotary International's effort to END POLIO NOW.
Lee was born in Ohio, but grew up Florida and attended the University of Florida with a medical degree from the University of Miami medical school. He joined the U.S. Navy in 1969, serving as Senior Medical Officer and Navy Flight Surgeon, then trained as an ophthalmologist.
Moving to Arlington, Washington, in 1984, wife Judy and Dr. Harman established and retired from The Harman Eye Clinic, practicing as a cataract and refractive surgeon. He became a Rotarian in 1984 and served in many capacities including District PolioPlus Chairman (2009-12). In 2007, he traveled to India to participate in a National Immunization Day, distributing polio vaccine drops to hundreds of children. Since then, he and Judy have continued strong support of Rotary, becoming major donors in 2015.
Bill was raised in Arizona and is a graduate of Arizona State University. He had a 21-year career in the military as a Field Artillery Officer, serving in Europe, Central Asia and the Far East. Appreciating the beauty of the Great North West, Bill retired to Washington state and devoted the next 17 years to working in State Government. He served in several management positions, each focused on process improvement and greater effectiveness in providing services to the citizens of our Washington.
Bill and his wife of 43 years, Cassandra, now split their time seasonally between San Tan Valley, Arizona and Olympia, Washington.