A 1,700-mile motoring challenge featuring a host of old bangers saved from the scrapheap has raised funds for armed forces charities.
The Veterans Banger Rally took fifty teams just over four days to complete the epic journey from the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire to the Halton Royal British Legion in Runcorn – via Llandudno, Torquay, Skegness, Newcastle and Blackpool.
All the vehicles taking part in the rally had to cost less than £500, and the older the car and the lower the engine size, the more ‘points’ were awarded. The teams could also gain additional points for completing tasks, such as stopping for a selfie at famous landmarks.
Of the fifty entrants, only three vehicles didn’t complete the journey and had to be withdrawn from the contest. One of those, a “Tom Moore taxi”, has since been bought by a museum in St Helens with the proceeds donated to the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association, The Captain Tom Foundation, and the Royal British Legion.
Father-and-son team, Joseph and Paul Wojcik who took part in their renovated 1993 Rover Metro said: “It was a fantastic trip and well worth the effort, a big thanks to all who have supported us and who have donated on our Just Giving page.
“The experience for both Joe and myself was amazing – meeting new friends with great banter all the way round. Some pranks were done – like filling our car with glitter which will take months to get rid of – and also wrapping another car in cling film.”
The winning team crossed the finish line in a Reliant Robin designed to look like the Thunderbird 4 submarine.
Kevin Walsh, of Halton Veterans Legion, helped to organise the welcome in Runcorn, said: “It went fantastic. The feedback that we’ve got is it was the best British Legion they’ve been to. They couldn’t get over the hospitality.”
Veterans Banger Rally was the idea of former Royal Navy man, John McGowan, who wanted to host an event to provide a fun outlet for former armed forces personnel and recreate some of the camaraderie from their time in service.
It is hoped that the event will return next year – and the vehicles are aiming to set off from Gibraltar, which would have been this year’s departure point had plans not been thwarted by the pandemic.