Plymouth to Dakar in a Car Bought For £100 – Part 8 of 8 (Andrew)

In 2004 a friend and I tried to to drive from Plymouth to Dakar in a car bought for £100. In August 2022, Livejournal sent me an email to congratulate me on my 18 anniversary of starting a journal with them. When I checked the link I discovered they still had all my old online journal (not called a blog then!) entries. I thought would be fun to publish them again.

18 December 2004Team Smokey Bandit in ruin/Rouan…

Despite emergency repairs on the side of a french motorway, our car is experiancing major transmission problems. It and us may not be going much further as both the Chrysler garage in Rouan and our very helpful contact at Chrysler in London are doubtful that our automatic gearbox will survive for much longer.

We are discussing options and will let you know what happens next.

A major thank you to Team Leak who stuck by us last night and made sure that our car reached Rouan.

19 December 2004The end of the road?

Beauty, our Chrysler Town and Country, was officially pronounced dead late on saturday. She has now been scrapped. We can’t explain how gutted we feel to lose her – we’ve been planning for this for more than 6 months, and to think that this could be the end of the road is incredibly hard to take.

We knew, before we even bought the car, that there was one risk we could not mitigate – Beauty was an automatic, and while we were confident that we could fix anything else that went wrong with her, we knew that if the automatic transmission went there was next to nothing that could be done. And there was nothing either we, or the guys at Chrysler could do in advance to protect against it. The gamble we took was that it would hold. Our luck ended on the side of a miserable french motorway late at night.

So what now? Well, we’ve made our way back to Paris. Andrew is going to stay in Paris for the time being, while Gav is making his way back to London, to see whether or not we can get a new car and start again – we’re only 3 days behind everyone else, so it’s not unrealistic that we could catch up. The trouble is actually likely to be the paperwork – it took us months to put all the insurance, visas, ownership and export documents in place, to try and turn all of that around in a day may just be asking too much. We’re hopeful, but at the same time it’s a tall order.

Thank you to everyone who has helped us so far – we’ll try not to let you down. Even if we can’t get back on the road to Dakar, we’ll do something else, so keep checking back to see what happens.

27 December 2004Fitness freaks

We’re getting over the disappointment of not being able to complete the Plymouth – Dakar challenge by throwing ourselves into our new challenge – the Edinburgh Bicycle Co-operative’s New Year’s Day Triathlon.

It’s fair to say that in the run up to the start of the Rally our preparations didn’t allow us much time for anything – including going to the gym. No swimming. No cycling. No running. Fortunately we did have time for a fair amount of Christmas eating and drinking though.

So from the time we got back and got accepted for the triathlon we have just 10 days to get ourselves fit enough to take part in the triathlon – swimming 500 metres, cycling 20 kilometres then running 5 kilometres. With no stopping in between. We get out of the water, jump on our bikes. We get off our bikes and start running straight away.

So there were no seconds of christmas dinner (well, ok, a very small plate of seconds). We can’t have too much to drink on new year’s eve.

The big question of course is – who is going to win? The Bandit has more triathlon experience, and its fair to say is the better swimmer. However Arbroath Smokey is a pretty good runner, competing in marathons and half marathons on a regular basis. We reckon it’s going to be a pretty close thing – keep following us for training updates, and the all important results!

[2022 Comment – This was the final report and the first time I’d ever though of taking part in a triathlon. But it would be a few years later before I actually entered my first race as I couldn’t get through to Edinburgh to take part as I didn’t have a car and I hadn’t realised that trains didn’t run on New Year’s Day. D’oh!]

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