A spark of gold and a splash of red caused more than 40 international drivers to pull off the highway and spend some time in Quesnel.
The participants in the Rally The Globe auto adventure club departed Anchorage on Aug. 27 and they are scheduled to roll into Cabo on Sept. 26 for a three-nation rip from north to south. All the vehicles involved are vintage, so a city with a history like Quesnel’s popped out from the map, not to mention our auto-enthusiast facilities.
When they learned of Cariboo Raceway, they knew it was a great spot for all of them to assemble. When they heard about the roadside gold pan, it was a photo opportunity they were interested in. But when a couple of Mounties agreed to meet them in red serge uniform, it became a tempting treat they literally lined up for. On Sept. 4, the whole contingent rumbled into town and many of the drivers took turns wheeling their vehicles into photo frame. The gold pan made them smile, but the Mounties made them beam.
“Ron arranged for the RCMP in their dress uniforms, and everybody loves that,” said rally director Fred Gallagher, thanking Quesnel mayor Ron Paull for playing host for their highways and byways convoy.
“It’s 30 days, 48 cars, crews from Europe, Australia, the U.S.A., all over,” said Gallagher. “We’ve come from Prince George by the dirt road, the Blackwater Road; everybody here has done it. We go in the dirt when we can.”
The route started in North America’s most northerly metropolitan area, Anchorage, and will rumble and roll through Yukon, B.C., the west coast of the U.S. and finish at the sourthernmost tip of Mexico’s Baja Peninsula. But there might be more. Gallagher said there was reconnaissance done last summer to verify this route, and there is work underway to confirm a future leg of the rally from Mexico to Panama and a third leg from Colombia to Cape Horn, to cover the Americas.
“We like adventure and long drives,” he said, which is why four auto mechanics, a paramedic, a doctor and other resources also travel along on the excursion. “The vehicles have to be pre-1976.”