Peking to Paris on 3 Wheels, Again

BIKE: 1906 / 2019 Contal Mototri
ENGINE: 652cc DOHC single-cylinder
SPEED: 52mph
WEIGHT: 660lbs
RANGE: 270 miles

The first Peking to Paris rally began in June 1907, and was immediately canceled. Only five of the 40 entered teams arrived in Peking, but they drove regardless, following a telegraph line through China, Mongolia, and Russia. Four cars finished, but the sole trike – a Contal Mototri – was abandoned in the Gobi desert. Driver Auguste Pons was lucky to walk out alive. 110 years later, Anton Gonnisen was inspired to duplicate Pons’ doomed ride by entering a Contal in the 2019 Peking to Paris rally. Finding a 1906 Contal proved impossible, so Anton made an accurate copy, with a stronger engine and wheels. Despite tribulations, breakages, and occasional misery, Gonnisen finished what Pons started, arriving in Paris after a journey of 9300 miles.