The 3 week Banjul Challenge The worlds first ever Banger Challenge, that has spawned so many others. In December 2002, the first group of hopeful souls left the UK in a motley collection of vehicles, optimistically believing that Julian Nowill knew what he was doing, and had substance and experience behind his words. Despite later finding out to the contrary, this first event was a great success and most of the 42 Teams even made it to Banjul. This Challenge is now the longest running banger challenge anywhere on this planet and leaves the UK every winter. In 2016 the date is 26 December(That night in Calais). Applications are now open.
The Banjul Challenge heads South through Morocco, Western Sahara, Mauritania and Senegal, arriving in Banjul in The Gambia. The route travels mostly on tarmac roads, but the highlight is the two-day crossing of the Sahara Desert. The journey is approximately 3700 miles, and can comfortably be covered in three weeks (if all goes well). Those in a hurry have completed in under two weeks, but that is missing the point, really. This is NOT a race. There is so much of interest en-route that it makes no sense to rush your travels.
The Challenge really starts in Southern Spain, where hotel accommodation is provided. The Road Book provides the clues as the Participants bond over a beer (or two) in the hotel bar, and form into travelling groups for the journey South. Ahead lies Sand, Sea and… even more sand. Experience the heat of the desert sun, and the challenge of nursing a knackered car all the way to destinations that most people would only consider flying to.
This Challenge is open to all not just Left-Hand Drive vehicles. GREAT NEWS; A CHANGE IN THE LAW SEPT 2016!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The route can be completed by almost any vehicle, and there is no distinct advantage to having 4×4 drive (except when others are stuck in the sand!). It is a condition of entry that All vehicles MUST be donated to the Control Committee in The Gambia. The vehicles are auctioned and the funds raised are distributed to local worthy causes. This is the only legitimate way to ensure that the best price is obtained and that the funds are distributed appropriately. Nasty things do happen to those who might flout this requirement, because it is illegal to sell your vehicle privately.
There are security concerns in West Africa but these have eased lately and we aim to provide help through Mauritania, Mali,Senegal and Gambia with local contacts, who will meet you and can liaise with local authorities.
New for 2018 is the push on South for ‘Old Hands’, starting 16 Jan 2018 in Banjul. Basically, as all RDH cars are almost worthless in Gambia, teams will fly out and pick up cars from the finishing line and take them South, via Senegal, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Cote D Ivoire,Ghana,Togo,Benin. The trip will take 2 weeks and we will fly to the UK from Accra,Lome or Cotonou. Flight home about £300 to £350. No entry fee but you will have to make a charitable donation via the rally to our Banjul end of £500 per car. The day planner is 1 Ziguinchor, 2 Bissau, 3Bissau, 4 Conakry, 5 Freetown,6 Freetown, 7 ? 8 Yamoussoakro, 9 Yamoussoakro,10 Abijan, 11 Accra, 12 Accra, and so on….Bookings for this run will open in September. However please fill in a Banjul entry form and email it to me so I can assemble a list of hopefulls.
Teams for Dec 2017 are starting to sign up and thus far we have:
Wal Furnish & Mike Parry
Graham & Karen Port
Killian Moser/ Kyle Kelly : Team Ahoi
Hilly & Steve Broadstock: Nomads on tour.
Dave Allen & Ellie Matsanova
Lynne & John Hadley
Sue Aldridge/Dick Miller
For the push South to Benin of Ghana from Gambia:
Julian Nowill/Hilary Eckleswood
Fergus McVey/Jon Oliver
Bjoern Tiedemann/Alexander Bludau
The 2016 team list was:
Saj Rahman & Vaida Cebatoriute UK
Japan Two(Karlis Irbe and Roberts Piekuss) Riga
Japan One (Raimonds Tale and Raivis Elksnitis) Riga.
The Merchant Bankers Ken Booth & Lee Melling Switzerland (postponed to the next run)
The Fasty Rascalls: Muneer Hassan,Dave Dampier UK
Catherine Chamberlain/Andrew Mckeaveney UK/S Africa
Desert Pirates: Richard Bruchner & Lena Neschenz Switzerland
Amy McQueen/Lois Raines UK
Boston to Banjul: Tony Borrill & Stephanie Searles UK
Aid2Gambia: 3 UK vehicles leaving later than you guys…
The fee is £399, per car,and the date is 26 December 2017. Apply now and you are guaranteed a place.
For your fee you get:
•One ‘Dakar & Bust’ DVD.
•One paperback issue book by a previous participant
•Exclusive PDC ‘road-book’ including guidance notes,Phone numbers of all other participants.
•Official PDC car stickers and entry numbers.
•Two nights accommodation for 2 people, half board in Tarifa in Southern Spain.
•Discounted flights home on specific Gambia Experience routes.
•Behind the scenes administration to try and smooth passage through Senegal and The Gambia (no guarantees of success, however!)
•Behind the scenes international liaison with partners and coordinators that allow this event to take place.
•Web site listing and Publicity.
•Inclusion within the formal lists of Participants that are issued to the Officials of some of the countries en route.