The Daily Express London-Sydney Marathon

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Last Winter rumours began to circulate about the most ambitious British race of all time, scheduled to go from London to Sydney in Australia. We even know of a Land Rover into which someone is inserting a 320 b.h.p. V8 Chevrolet engine, which might be a potential winner; although it would have to forgo four-wheel drive.

What this is all about is now revealed as the Daily Express London-Sydney Marathon, scheduled for November 23rd-December 17th this year, starting from London, under the Chairmanship of Sir Max Aitken of Beverbrook Newspapers, himself a one-time racing driver. The route is described as covering 10,000 miles of all kinds of terrain, and embracing all kinds of climate, from snow and ice in the Turkish mountains to dust and storms on the plains of Iran, floods in India and blinding heat in the Australian Nullabor desert in high summer. Moreover, the only break will be on a P & O liner between Bombay and Fremantle. The route will cross France, Germany, Austria, Italy, Yugoslavia, and Bulgaria to Istanbul. After being ferried across the Bosphorus competitors will continue through Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, W. Pakistan, to Bombay. Open to private cars, the entry fee is £550 and only spares carried on the vehicles can be used without severe penalty.

This sounds like the most ambitious motor race since Paris-Pekin. It is essential for a British car to win! In congratulating the Daily Express on its initiative, we are delighted to see that the R.A.C. approves, because they are usually non-adventurous; for instance when a National Club and a motor journal wanted to offer a medal to any driver of a light car covering 10,000 miles within 50 hours on British roads in 1923, the R.A.C. stepped in and refused to sanction this harmless event.

We shall watch how this London-Sydney epic develops; provisonal regulations in four languages are now available from the Hon. Sec., Daily Express London-Sydney Marathon, 121 Fleet Street, London, E.C.4. The only way, we suggest, that the Daily Mail can counter this is to adopt Motor Sport’s suggestion for a trans-Atlantic air race in 1969, to mark the 50th anniversary of the Rolls-Royce engined Vickers Vimy crossing from America to Ireland, to follow their excellent and enjoyable “no holds barred” Channel Air Race of 1959 which commemorated Bleriot’s first Channel crossing in his Anzani-engined Bleriot XI.—W. B.

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