Friday 10 June 2005

Plymouth-Dakar Rally

You may have heard of the Paris - Dakar Rally. It's parodied by the Plymouth - Dakar Rally which this year is going by the title Plymouth - Banjul Challenge. The goal is to buy a banger for £100 and drive it 3000 miles through France, Spain and along the West Coast of Africa to Senegal. Some teams spend up to £600 on the car and you're only allowed £15 worth of modification. If you make it, the car gets sold at an auction in Banjul and the proceeds given to charity. There's a good write-up in the June/July 2005 issue of Wanderlust of their team's experience and some of the practicalities.

I gotta admit, the challenge and quirkiness has quite a bit of appeal for me. Bottom line is that it takes about £1500 and three weeks in January to pull it off. Anyone what to talk about an automotive adventure? I'm serious!


  1. Did this in 2004/2005 and I a can confirm it is the most fun you can have in a £100 car (along with 50 others in your group - 200 in all four groups!!) that I've tried yet…

    Highlights for us were:

    1) Hearing a strange, worrying noise from the car as we drove towards Portsmouth to catch our ferry - thinking - we're not even going to make it to the ferry…only to find out it was the luggage straps on the roof rack vibrating when we hit our ludicrous top speed of 40mph!

    2) Getting our 23year old Isuzu Trooper Airbourne by (according to witnesses) 5 feet off the ground going 'through' a pothole at 2:30am in Senegal - and landing relatively safely…

    3) Running over an entire village's fishing gear on the beach section - again at about 3:00am - then having the car surrounded by the entire village who wanted 'compensation' for loss of earnings - but insisted on everyone shouting at once - we paid over the odds for the damage to the 'stick' we broke and then were offered a cup of tea - very bizarre…but most welcome…

    4) Making the worst cheese and onion sandwiches EVER whilst driving through the night in Senegal (funnily enough at about 1:30am) whilst surrounded by our 49 other Group 1 cars ALL with music blarring, hazard lights and revolving lights of all colours going in a cloud of dust (like some bizarre mobile disco nightmare), and EVERYONE p*ss*ng themselves at the situation - having driven for 19.5 hours THAT DAY!…

    In short - if you THINK you can do it - DO IT - you won't regret it…well…NO you'll be fine…It does change your 'driving style' though and you'll REALLY appreciate just how much punishment an 'ordinary' saloon car can handle!!

    Start dates range from December 18/19th right through to Feb - so you have some flexibility

    PS I am now co-organising a similar drive from London to Vladivostok this July in a fleet of London Black Cabs!!!! - should take - oh - 2 MONTHS…if we're quick…

    All the best Steve H (Team No 5137 "Dynamo Madame Sepia")

  2. Thanks for the inspiration. I've mentioned the idea to quite a few friends but no one has really leapt up and said "yeah, let's do it!". It's still on my radar.

  3. just to say that ive seen the series on telly and i fink it will be a good challenge to go to far eastern eruope and i can say that im up for a journy as i travelled to almeria in in spain to fit a engine in a transit van in the desrt then drive strait back home to soth wales

  4. Hey guys i was thinking about doing the challenge with my mate but couldn't find the main website. if any one could givee a heads up it would be much apprecieated.

  5. please could you give me info on any up and coming rally's

    Thank you

  6. I m thinking about doing the trip next year!
    Where do i sign up and do you have to be a mechanic to do this! Please help

  7. hi
    does any girl need a passenger in the plymouth
    dakar rally i willing to help

  8. Please can you give me info on any future rallys,


  9. would love to do on one, please help me