A UK Car Rally With A Difference

by : Catherine Harvey

I have been looking into various types of rallies that have taken part across the UK in the name of charity. I have found quite an unusual one that consists of travelling from John O'Groats to Lands End. Not that different in itself apart from a few difficult rules.

The rules were that the vehicle could not be a sports model or modified in any way, it had to be an average road-going vehicle and it couldn't be owned by the driver or borrowed from somebody known to the driver.

It was also compulsory to arrive at each check point in a different vehicle. If anything happened to the vehicle en route, a new car was not allowed. However, you could still win the rally if you made it in person to the final check point within a vehicle. Help was allowed as the rally is in aid of charity.

Short of stealing a car, I couldn't see how this would work but most people got around the rules by hiring a vehicle and routes were planned via the designated check points.

All participants were to arrive in Scotland on the night before the start of the rally to complete necessary paperwork.

Dundee City was the first check point followed by Paisley and nothing interesting was reported thus far. Various cars were checked in from the car hire companies including Clio's and KA's. I think everybody must have been pacing themselves and setting off in small cars thinking this will get them through the cities a little speedier.

Paisley check point reported the first man down. Apparently, he lost his vehicle to irresponsible shopping and getting clamped. Fortunately for him, he was kindly picked up by another couple who chose to upgrade to a Megane before the next check point due to the rescued man being rather portly.

According to the records, cars were getting increasingly bigger as time went by due to participants helping each other out and the couple who collected the portly wheel clamp man also picked up a couple with a baby that was delivered in the back of their own vehicle!

Newcastle went by without a hitch and various repairs are being made along the way with participants bodging cars to make it to the next car hire company.

Other checkpoints along the way included Nottingham, Birmingham and Peterborough. The records show that at this point the number of vehicles were fewer, occupants numbers increasing and vehicles becoming larger.

Despite the rally being in aid of charity, the worst side of human nature did kick in along the way and several fights were reported where the police had to come and calm the situation. This had already calmed down by the time rally members made it to the M25. Quite an achievement because in my days of travelling as a reporter, the M25 has never been the most relaxing road to travel.

Southampton check point reported no disturbances, however one group had grown to the point where they had to hire a Luton van!

Penzance was the last location for changing vehicles with a disappointing breakdown by the Luton van and the race was won by an old couple in a Citroen CV.

This was, indeed, an unusual race but all in a good cause.