Road Racing News

Where It All Started, The Paris To Rouen Race

Automatically when thinking of individuals who helped shaped motorsport, pure road racing’s early foundations the name Pierre Giffard, automatically won’t spring to mind for many of us.

In reality Giffard who held the position of editor for the Le Petit Journal, is considered the main instigator of what is widely perceived, considered and regarded as the world’s first competitive motor race, the Paris to Rouen event of 1894.

Photo credit: The Helck Family Collection, photo via Vanderbilt Cup Races Blog

The event which took place over a 78 miles long route, attracted over 100 entries with competitors racing a variety of petrol, steam powered machines.

First to complete the Paris-Rouen course was Jules-Albert De Dion with his steam powered tractor whilst lead petrol runner was Peugeot’s Albert Lemaitre.

Rounding out the first three finishers was Auguste Doriot whilst overall 17 racers completed the race.

So there you have it where it all started, before we had the TT Races, North West 200, Ulster Grand Prix, Oliver’s Mount, Scarborough, the Macau Grand Prix, Monaco Grand Prix, the Le Petit Journal organised Paris-Rouen was the first of it’s kind.

Words by Stevie Rial