Hot and bothered - Andrew Noakes - Motoring Writer

Published in Classics magazine 2004

Reading more like an adventure story than a factual account, this is journalist Richard Pape's diary of driving an Austin A90 Westminster from Nordkapp in Norway to Cape Town in South Africa, an epic 17,500-mile journey that took three months.

It was not a good idea to be a Pape co-driver: he sacked the first, left the second in Norway with accident damage, lost a third through illness and got his fourth (an RAF sergeant) court-martialled. The third, Norwegian Johan Brun, rejoined Pape south of the Sahara and a month later was left as security against a garage bill in the Congo.

Pape 2001

Add in crashes, injuries, racing against time, malaria, Dexedrine and coffee, fraud, forgery, sun stroke, Benzedrine, shooting dogs and a welder called Klaus and you have an astonishing, roller-coaster story which is both entertaining and informative.

Pape was a fascinating man: he was a journalist on the Yorkshire Post, joined the RAF and twice escaped from prisoner-of-war camps. After the Cape-to-Cape run he tested cars for Rootes in America, returned his medals to the Queen in protest at the Beatles' MBEs, ran a Leonard Cheshire children's home in New Guinea for nine years and retired to Australia, where he died in 1995.

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