Beijing to Paris: Victoria brothers embark on epic adventure in VW Bug


John and Chris Beresford have been restoring cars for years.

But their latest re-build is a labour of love.

“This is very much in Deirdre’s memory and that’s what’s driving us on,” explains Chris Beresford.

The brothers, who live in Brentwood Bay and Oak Bay, have spent the last 18 months restoring a 1956 Volkswagen Bug.

It belonged to John’s late wife, Deirdre, and they’re going to take it on an epic adventure.

They’re taking part in the 2019 Peking to Paris Motor Challenge the longest and toughest driving rally in the world for vintage and classic cars.

“When we had the chance to enter this we thought the car made a lot of sense and this would be a great way to honour Deirdre and to have a real drive for Deirdre,” Chris says.

Starting in China, the grueling route goes through the Gobi desert and 11 different countries including Mongolia, Russia, Kazakhstan, Finland, Poland and Germany and covers almost 14,000 kilometres.

“If we can get out of Mongolia in one piece, I suspect that is going to be the most difficult part,” John Beresford says.

Only cars can take part in the challenge and they have to be built before 1977.

Forty per cent of the time, they’ll be driving on gravel or dirt roads.

About 10 per cent of the time, it’s just tracks in the desert.

“The toughest thing on the trip I think is probably sheer endurance and exhaustion,” Chris says. “And we asked when that set in and they said about day three of 35!”

The Greater Victoria brothers are the only team from Canada.

They’re going to share the driving and navigating and expect both will be nerve-tracking.

As for being trapped in a small car together for more than a month?

“I think we’ll be fine,” laughs John. “We’ve always gotten along well and he generally does what I ask him to.”

You can follow their adventure on the Drive for Deidre blog.

The Beresfords are raising money for the Arthritis Society in honour of Deirdre, who battled rheumatoid arthritis and was a long-time volunteer.

Click on this link to make a donation.

Tess van StraatenTess van Straaten

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