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“If you’re not moving, you’re standing  still.”


Steve Trafton

Requiem for the Liver

From Ulaanbaatar

From Ulaanbaatar

Liver Eater’s Last Ride

Heartbroken and outta luck, Ike Trafton and Tim Taylor gave up the ghost on a lonely road in Mongolia. 

Ike Trafton sends the following post:

ow to load a 4 ton car without a winch or lift truck:

– Simply back up to an embankment


– Use a pick-up and a section of cable to control the cars roll (and block a high speed road in the process)


– tie it down with old cables through the wheels (you can always re-powder coat)


..and voila, finished!


Now for the 100 kilometer drive to Ulaan Baatar – hoping the Liver Eater doesn’t break loose under braking and take us out for what we did to her.


More updates later …


Final Vehicle Check

Final Vehicle Check


The list of Participants in the 6th Peking to Paris Motor Challenge is hefty, numbering 115 vintage cars from many countries and they’re all roaring to go.  Each car in the competition has a GPS tacker that is mounted on the car itself. For our web site visitors to view the tracking page, follow this link – where (if you scroll down) you will see all of the competitors listed.


Listing of Competitors

Listing of Competitors


To open the tracker for either Black Horse Racing car, click on the text or the picture for the #1 or #4 car (see arrows) and it will take you to your own tracking map.(Steve and Katherine Trafton are driving the #1 car named “Revenant”, while Ike Trafton and Tim Taylor are driving the #4 vehicle, named “Liver Eater”.


Tracking Close Up

Tracking Close Up


In the close-up (above), you can see where the cars are located on the map,


Tracking in Long Shot

Tracking in Long Shot


…or you can view an expanded street map (above) of their location by scrolling with your mouse wheel (hold the Ctrl key and then roll Forward on the wheel, or hold the Ctrl key and roll Back on the wheel). In the left column, you can click on any line to see where the cars were…or are…at the moment. And you can also change your overhead map-view to Satellite (see top left of map). Try it out when you can!



Meanwhile, here is the latest from Ike Trafton:IMG_6338










Here is a picture at our last breakfast in Beijing, which we are ready to see in the rear view mirror.

















This morning we repacked the “Revenant” (Car #1) and “Liver Eater” (Car #4), and prepped them for the safety and technical inspections.



Teddy the Teddy

Teddy the Teddy








Teddy the Teddy Bear has become the mascot for Black Horse Racing, and was present for inspections. Both cars passed the safety and technical inspections without issue. We received our navigation maps, tulip books, and official documents for the race after passing.


Finally the formal welcome-aboard briefing and dinner. All is Go for tomorrow.


We start the race at 0800 from the Great Wall of China.

Beijing Arrival

Flight Path to China

Flight Path to China



On June 7, the team left San Francisco for Beijing at 11:34a PDT.


Ike Trafton writes:


The United 747 flight was eleven hours, smooth and uneventful. There was clear weather across Manchuria and northern China, until we started our decent into the smog of Beijing. It reminds us of LA smog in the 70s.








We were met by a facilitator who insisted on helping to carry the clutch plate bag….

After the hour drive from the airport, we arrived at the Shangri-la Hotel near the Beijing Zoo.












Then, after scoping out the competition in the lobby (who also arrived early), we held a strategy session in the outdoor bar with a few bottles of Tsingtao.











We did a training hike down to a local park – not unlike Central Park or Green Lake in Seattle. This resulted in a possible next project for Black Horse Racing of crossing the Bering Strait in a giant ducky…fortunately Steve couldn’t find the owner, so this idea died…for now.













Meanwhile Tim was back in the room with visions of clutch plates dancing in his head…






…maybe he just had too many squid chips.






















This evening we get our Chinese drivers licenses; but until then, we did a bit of exploring down in the Forbidden City,


…and in Tianimen Square looking for those elusive tanks.



























The surprise of our explorations was that Katherine was a minor celebrity with the local girls wanting their pictures taken with her.












Katherine was quick on the pick-up with the “V” sign and the occidental grin.









A Chinese Police Briefing was attended by all rally participants, where we learned: red means stop; green means go; and don’t drink and drive. Our reward for listening attentively is our Chinese Driver’s Licenses. So much for today’s activities.


We had an interesting conversation with the driver of Car #5 – Max from Australia. He drove the 2010 Peking to Paris and indicated eight cars never made it out of China – except on the back of flat bed trucks. Apparently vehicle prep and testing are the early downfall of many starters.


From your Black Horse Racing Team, all’s well.

(Our Facebook page is @blackhorseracingusa. See

Winging West To China

Just before they board a flight from San Francisco to Beijing, China on the morning of June 7, 2016, Dwight Trafton sent this update:


Flew from SEA to SFO in clear weather seeing all the cascade volcanoes on the way: Rainier, Adams, St. Helens, Hood, Jefferson, Three Sisters, Shasta, and Lassen Peak.


Flight from Seattle to San Francisco

Flight from Seattle to San Francisco

The only glitch was that the aircraft slammed on its brakes and squealed its tires while taxiing away from the gate – a ground vehicle had apparently violated rules of the road and cut in front of it. But following that “brake check”, all was well.


Team assembles together to start the journey.

Team assembles together to start the journey. Dwight Trafton, Tim Taylor, Steve Trafton, Katherine Trafton


Team Black Horse all linked up at the San Francisco airport. Following a good steak dinner and restful night at the Airport Marriott, we are up and ready to head to the airport for an 11:00 AM departure to Beijing (12.5 hour flight).


The four member team will stay at the Shangri La Hotel in Beijing and assemble with the other drivers for the rally which begins on June 12th. They said they would be sleeping in used tents and eating watery-gruel. Oh sure…


Visit our page on Facebook @blackhorseracingusa to be notified of regular updates. (


ALF Leaves for China

The second rebuilt American La France (ALF) speedster was recently tested north of Seattle and made ready for transport to China. The upcoming Peking to Paris Motor Challenge takes place from June 12th to July 17th 2016. Shown below you’ll see the Number One vehicle in that race, driven by Steve Trafton and his wife Katherine. This rebuilt car will travel overland for 9000 miles with another 119 vehicles registered for that road rally. One of two virtually identical speedsters in the BlackHorseRacing team to make the overland journey, both were rebuilt from old fire engine chassis. The other model will be piloted by Trafton’s crew chief Tim Taylor, with Steve’s brother Dwight as the backup driver.


Here, Steve loads ALF#1 into the truck that will carry it to San Diego where it then will be loaded on a ship for China.


(Select first image to see them in closeup.)



Steve Trafton Interview

Steve Trafton Interview



Mark Greene recently did a comprehensive audio interview with Steve Trafton on Mark’s 5-day a week podcast for The interview covered Steve’s many extreme life-adventures, his land speed record, plus his business career and interest in cars. If you’d like to hear what he had to say, follow this link.



Off To California For Road Testing


Watch these short video clips as Steve Trafton describes the vehicle that he is road testing before the Peking to Paris Motor Challenge Race in the summer of 2016.


Other questions are answered in audio clips below.




What do you expect to learn from this road test?


Why do you have two separate vehicles?


What’s the progress on the second one?





You mentioned both your brother Byron and your wife Katherine being with you for road testing.


Were there problems that you did not anticipate?



Are there major parts that you have fabricated yourself?


Give me the general specifications for the vehicles.



What has happened in this road test that you didn’t expect ?



On the next blog, more questions will be answered about why the Peking to Paris Motor Challenge was chosen.