Sands of the Desert recounts the journey of two Australians, Harry and Cathy Hickling, in their 1938 MG SA as they travel from Tunisia, through Libya and to the Red Sea in Egypt. It is not only their journey that is told through this book. The rich and ancient history of North Africa unfolds before us as they visit the historical sites of these countries and as they experience the cultures of the people living there. Sands of the Desert takes us on a journey back into ancient North Africa, down the very streets that the Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans and Egyptians once walked and to some of the events that have shaped North Africa into the modern era.
We are carried on this journey by a pre-war MG affectionately named Christie - a wonderful recreation of the rare Swiss bodied Keller MGs built by Reinbolt and Christé, after whom the car is named. Whilst Christie would seem better placed to be on show at a Pebble Beach Concours, she is also a rally proven MG having now competed in the 2007 Peking to Paris Rally and the 2009 Nile Trial. Sands of the Desert is as much a story about the achievement of this rally breed MG, as it is about the achievement of a group of 31 adventurous motorists to drive across North Africa during the 2009 Nile Trial. A feat that due to the distances involved, the remoteness of the Sahara Desert and the restrictions of entering Libya, is still as an important motoring milestone today as it might have been 73 years ago when the MG SA was first born at the MG factory in Abingdon.
Organised by The Endurance Rally Association this event saw the first group of classic cars to travel across this stretch of North Africa and along the way provided a truly unique opportunity for these adventurers to see the ancient wonders of North Africa.
Sands of the Desert will form a lovely companion to Harry and Cathy's earlier book; To Finish is to Win which has sold over 800 copies and has been enjoyed by readers from around the world. The book recounts their wonderful journey from Beijing to Paris in 2007. A 13,500 kilometre journey where they had to withstand the gruelling conditions of the Gobi Desert as they followed in the tracks of the original intrepid motorists of the 1907 Peking to Paris Rally. Along the way they saw the mystical sites of the Karakorum, The Hanging Monastery and Buddha Caves in Northern China and the magnifi cent cities of Russia. Those who have read To Finish is to Win will be equally spellbound by this wonderful sequel.