North East group plan to rally through Europe in old London taxi for cancer charity

Group taking part in 1,200 mile Two Ball Banger Rally to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support

David Cotterill, Michael Walls, Gary Wood and Phillip Dowd, from Terraclean
David Cotterill, Michael Walls, Gary Wood and Phillip Dowd, from Terraclean

Travelling through nine countries in four days in a clapped out London taxi - these pals have their work cut out for them.

The group of six, who all work for TerraClean, are taking to the road in Europe for the Two Ball Banger Rally in the hope of raising thousands for Macmillan Cancer Support.

The group, made up of North East TerraClean workers Gary Wood and Phillip Dowd, have transformed an old London cab to take them on the 1,200 mile journey through France, Belgium, Luxemburg, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Monte Carlo and back to France.

Gary, 45, of Chester-le-Street, said: “The idea came from my wife Gillian because she sent me a link on Facebook for another Banger Rally as a joke saying I should do it with my friends and really she sort of instigated it.

“Myself and Phil we live close and we ended up getting friendly and it was over a drunken conversation in a pub we decided to do the rally. We were going to do it for a laugh and we got the other guys involved and thought we would do something for charity and it went from there.”

The group, who set off on August 14, now hope to raise at least £5,000 from their wacky race across Europe and hope their adapted cab will hold up.

“The car we are doing it in is an old London taxi and the meter is still in the car so every day on Facebook we are going to say whoever guessing the closest to the right meter price wins and that will be sponsored by one of the companies giving us prizes,” said dad-of-four Gary.

“The rally itself, we are going to be doing a 3,000 mile round trip leaving from Cramlington and travelling down to France by the Eurotunnel. Then it starts and we got through Belgium and Luxemburg and into Germany on the first day which is about 300 miles.

“Then it is Germany to Austria through the Black Forest into the Alps and I think Switzerland that day.

“The third day we go back through Austria back down to sea level and end up in Lake Como.

“The final day we go from Lake Como through Monaco and back to France.

“I am looking forward to it but six burly fellas with no air conditioning in summer, tempers might get frayed.

“The car is 15-years-old and done half-a-million miles, it is not built for long journeys,” said Gary, a TerraClean operator.

But the team are looking forward to the challenge and raising thousands for the charity, which Gary said has touched everyone in some way.

At the end of the rally teams can either scrap their cars and fly back or drive back through mainland France to the UK. The TerraClean team is attempting to drive the car back to the UK and make it the most used banger car in history.

The rest of the group, made up of Chris Simblet, Chris Warren, John Bowen and Andy McClurg, are from all over the country. They have been sponsored by Philips, Randstad, NGK, Launch UK, Impression Communications, Evans Coolants and DPT

To sponsor the group visit www.justgiving.com/Terracleanontour or follow their Facebook page TerraCleanOnTour or Twitter @terracleantour.

Journalists

David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer