<< Back to <<
VW Books Stock Number..
Availability from VW
Publisher.. World Rallies
ISBN (or publisher's
The Paris - Dakar Rally;
the most dangerous race in the world. It costs £18,000 just to enter and with 48 deaths
recorded and only a 40% success rate there's a good chance you won't make it.
If you don't like the odds, don't have the cash but don't want to miss out, why not try the
Plymouth - Banjul Challenge? It follows a similar route to the original Paris - Dakar but the entry
fee is a mere £250. A few guidelines ensure costs don't escalate to 'Paris - Dakar' proportions;
cars should cost less than £100 with a preparation budget of £15 and all cars must be left hand
drive as they will remain in the country to be auctioned for charity.
But what car bought for £100 could hope to make it 4200 miles to West Africa? That's what
Claire and I asked when we decided to tak eup the challenge. A VW chat forum led us to our car
of choice; a 1972 VW Beetle named Poldi. Tony at Lust for Rust got him running, spent days
welding and replaced the rusty wing. Then, he undid all his good work by handing the car over
to two girls, with no mechanical skills whatsoever, to drive through mountains, deserts and the
odd minefield! Some people didn't think we'd make it; some people said we wouldn't make it out
of the UK!
"Who's your friend?" said a fellow rally entrant when we arrived at the Brittany Ferries terminal.
They were referring to the brightly coloured recovery van following us. Embarrassingly we had
to admit our first breakdown had been 20 minutes from home. The Beetle was escorted,
coughing and spluttering, the rest of the way to Portsmouth unable to go over 60kph. A fault
eventually traced by French VW enthusiasts to rust inside the petrol tank blocking the fuel lines.
They fed us, put us up for the night and by morning had replaced the tank.
/ graphical content..
Originally published.. 2015
This page updated.. 07/11/2018 17:22:29