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Attention News Editors:

Rally around the world races through B.C.

VANCOUVER, May 26 /CNW/ - Touring the world in a Rolls-Royce sounds wonderful, but what about circling the globe (in a mere 80 days) behind the wheel of a vintage 1913 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost? The first Around The World in 80 Days Motor Challenge will see 41 vintage and classic cars and their two-person driver teams zip across British Columbia as part of their epic
journey around the world. Having started from London's famed Tower Bridge on May 1 and returning on July 18, the rally will be the first timed automotive event to lap a full circle of the globe.

British Columbia is the first leg of the North American section, which begins at Anchorage, Alaska on June 12. Drivers will enter B.C. on Highway 37 and race across the province to Banff by June 22, passing through the Northern B.C., Cariboo, Okanagan and Rockies regions before crossing into Alberta. The sights along the way are spectacular: snow-peaked mountains, crystal-blue lakes and rivers, and emerald green forests mixed with rolling grasslands, steep-walled canyons and sagebrush-covered hills. First stop is Terrace on June 17, followed by Smithers on June 18-19. Smithers' downtown Main Street will be closed to display the cars for public viewing, and the Hudson Bay Lodge will host a reception for all participants and enthusiasts. The rally
will then continue through Prince George, Quesnel, Williams Lake, Kamloops and Revelstoke, passing the site at Craigellachie where the historic Last Spike was driven in 1885 to finish the nation's transcontinental railway. A final climb high into the Rockies through Rogers Pass and Glacier National Park and the rally will stop at Banff on June 22-23.

The rest of the global route is similarly arduous. After leaving London on May 1 and crossing the English Channel to France, the cars travelled southeast through France, Italy, Greece, Turkey and former Soviet republics before entering China and ending at Beijing. Following the Alaska/Yukon/B.C. section and arrival at Banff on June 22, the rally proceeds southeast through Montana, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan and New York, ending in Newark, New Jersey. The final section begins in Marrakech, Morocco on July 10, with entrants passing over the Atlas Mountains before crossing to Spain. A blitz north through France and the rally finishes its 80th day by arriving at the Royal Mint, London, on July 18.

The automobiles themselves are a major attraction of the rally. Unlike the cutting-edge racers used in most competitive rallies, the Around The World in 80 Days entrants are cross-section of vehicles from motoring history. Some of the finest examples include a 1913 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost, a 1929 Bentley Speed Six, a 1931 Lagonda M45, a 1961 Aston-Martin DB4 and a 1964 Porsche 356 T5 coupe. Others are more quirky and prosaic, like a 1952 Citroen 2CV, a 1968 Saab 96, and a 1955 Chevrolet 210 sedan. Considering the age and rarity of most of the cars, just keeping them running will pose a challenge...where would one find a Lagonda oil pan in Cache Creek?

Like the vehicles, the drivers represent a range of countries including the United States, Great Britain, France, the Netherlands, Australia, and New Zealand. Representing Canada are Vancouver's Lennox McNeely and James Walters at the wheel of their 1938 Packard Touring Sedan. A total of 102 driver pairs and their vehicles are participating in the European or Asian sections of the event, but only 41 are daring to complete the entire circuit.

The Around the World in 80 Days Motor Challenge is a unique event appealing to automotive enthusiasts and all adventurers at heart. View the cars at stops along the route, or just watch them roar by in a flash of yesteryear's glory. More information, including rally itineraries and lists of entrants, are available from event organizers Classic Rally Association through their website at www.carnet.co.uk

Tourism BC is an independent Crown corporation that operates under the direction of an industry-led board of directors and is responsible for marketing Super, Natural British Columbia to the world.


For further information: Yvette Chamberlain, Tourism BC Corporate Communications (604) 660-4703

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