The 1968 London to Sydney Marathon

A History of the 10,000 Mile Endurance Rally


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SKU: 9780786495863 Categories: , ,

About the Book

On November 24, 1968, more than 250 people from 19 nations set off on a 10,000–mile endurance rally from London to Sydney. Crossing 10 countries, competitors encountered officious border guards, gangs of rock-throwing children, treacherous driving conditions, collisions, breakdowns, injuries, wayward dogs, livestock, camels and kangaroos, millions of spectators crowding the roads and even bandits. Among the professional drivers were a large number of enthusiastic amateurs, many of whom had never raced in their lives.
Drawing from personal recollections of more than 60 participants—many who made it to Sydney and many more who didn’t—and contemporary newspaper and magazine articles, this book tells the full story of what was called the “Marathon,” from an idea dreamed up over an alcohol-fueled lunch to the last car over the finish line.

About the Author(s)

Robert Connor Robert Connor has had a life-long passion for all things automotive. He lives in Herefordshire, England.

Bibliographic Details

Robert Connor
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 308
Bibliographic Info: 142 photos (32 in color), 5 maps, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2016
pISBN: 978-0-7864-9586-3
eISBN: 978-1-4766-2084-8
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vi

Preface 1

Introduction 4

1. What’s the Big Idea? 7

2. Planning the Route 10

3. That Bloody 1100! 18

4. Growing Interest 24

5. The One About the Englishman, the Irishman and the Scotsman 29

6. Runners and Riders 38

7. The Red Arrows 44

8. Off with a Bang! 54

9. Add Lightness, Go Faster 60

10. Bound for Belgrade 72

11. The Curse of the ­Mercedes-Benz Radiators (Part One) 81

12. A Valiant Effort 87

13. The Curse of the ­Mercedes-Benz Radiators (Part Two) 92

14. Goodbye Bentley Tourer 95

15. Peeing in the Dark 99

Between pages 106 and 107 are 16 pages containing 32 color photographs

16. A Peykan by Any Other Name 107

17. More Than Just the Mechanic 112

18. All Along the King’s Highway 120

19. We’re Not Going Home 130

20. A Million Broken Metatarsals 138

21. The Fighting Falcons (Part One) 146

22. Close Shaves and Sacred Cows 154

23. The Fighting Falcons (Part Two) 160

24. Shenanigans at Sea 166

25. A Tale of Two Volvos (Part One) 173

26. Roo Bars and Bull Dust 179

27. A Tale of Two Volvos (Part Two) 185

28. Turning on a Dime 195

29. A Sleeping Bag to Kandahar 201

30. Can I Buy Your Axle Please? 213

31. All the Way Back 221

32. And Half the Way There 229

33. Meeting Triumph and Disaster 236

34. Waltzing Over the Khyber Pass 242

Epilogue—After the Dust Had Settled 251

Appendix 1: The Entrants 257

Appendix 2: The Scoreboard 263

Chapter Notes 266

Bibliography 269

Index 271

Book Reviews & Awards

“Connor provides ideal insight as to why the 1968 London to Sydney Marathon captured the imagination of the public…Connor has written a most appealing account of the marathon…an enjoyable and informative read…highly recommended”—SAH Journal; “Connor, relies on both statistics and anecdote to tell this amazing story of endurance…one of the most ambitious books on a single motorsport event that we can recall reviewing. It’s liberally illustrated with maps and photos that make clear just how monumental an undertaking London to Sydney really was. Any rally aficionado will want to read this comprehensive work”—Hemmings Sports & Exotic Car; “the book is a fine tribute by a wholly enthusiastic chronicler who full well realizes, as do the many participants he was able to interview, how unique the Marathon was. Even the reenactments never surpassed it, nor do any of the other modern-day long-distance rallies”— SpeedReaders; “I could hardly put [it] down. Connor, is clearly expert in all aspects of the Marathon…read the book. All in all, the most enjoyable book I have read for ages.”—Escape Motoring Inc.; “a book to savor over…. A masterpiece that will well reward the reader!”—Victory Lane; “plenty of archive pictures help to set the scene…entertaining”—Classic & Sports Car