Couple crosses continents for Fred

In the space of just over a month, Sydneysiders Greg and Liz Newton drove as far as most Australians do in a year, to support the work of The Fred Hollows Foundation.

The couple travelled over 14,600 kilometres - crossing two continents and 12 countries - as contestants in the historical Peking to Paris Motor Challenge.

Over 300 people from all corners of the world drove 165 vehicles in the vintage car rally.

Beginning in Peking (now Beijing) in China, they passed through Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Russia, Iran, Turkey, Greece and Italy before ending their journey in Paris, France, 37 days later.

As they drove their 1952 Holden through some of the world’s most perilous and amazing landscapes, the Newtons raised over $7,000 for The Foundation.

Wear and tear plagued the vintage car due to the harsh conditions it endured.

For the final 1,000 kilometre of the rally they were running on only five cylinders, with duct tape and string holding the front of the car together.

The couple had limited support, so resourcefulness was a must. They had to ensure the car was running smoothly, and maintain their own good health under significant time pressure.

With little phone access, the Newtons used Twitter to update family, friends and followers throughout the journey.

"Endured a 520 kilometre drive through Russia, a border crossing into Kazakhstan then world’s worst hotel," they tweeted on Day 14 of the rally.

Upon arriving in Paris after a difficult journey, the Newtons were pleased to place first in their division and fourth overall in the rally. They had travelled one third of the way around the world since crossing the starting line more than a month earlier in Beijing.

China, where the rally began, is one of the countries where The Foundation works. It is home to 18 per cent of the world’s blind population.
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