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 closing very shortly (mid Nov 2017).
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 2/3 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. Bookings for this run are now open and will close on Oct 17th. Please fill in a Banjul entry form and email it to me so I can explain procedure.
Teams for Dec 2017 are starting to sign up and thus far we have:
1 Cancelled team
2Dave Allen & Ellie Matsanova(going further!)
3Susan Aldridge,Dick Miller,Kent
5Stephen & Hilly Broadstock, Florida & Cornwall
6Dave & Mandy Crumbie, Leicester
7Wal Furnish, Mike Perry Cornwall, Mitsu Shogun…going further South
8Paul Furber(& Alison to Banjul only)…going further South
9Lynne & John Hadley, Kent, Suzuki Vitara
10Erika Jimenez,Jeanneth Lizcano, Geoffrey Bonilla, London
11Neil Kinley…going further South
12Alexander Kinnaird,Katrina Godzicz,Simon Westerlund,Netherlands
13David Mitchel & Lisa George,Leicestershire
14Phil Mizzi & James Formosa: The Maltesers
15Killian Moser,Diego Casado,Kyle Kelly,Germany
16Yauheni Miatselski, Nikita Koroed & Veranika Vishniakove(Driving from Minsk)
17Graham & Karen Port Kent
18Stuart Nicholson,Nottingham,Ford Focus(going further South)
19Mandy Parker & Clare Pengelly (starting in Spain)
20Paul Reid & Simon Rickaby, London BMW 320
21 Nicholas Sorokin,Alexander Filippenko, Oleksandr Lisovyk
22Adrian & Theresa Small,Worcester, Peugeot 406
23Jovian Stone & Aidan Shaw,Cornwall, VW Polo
24Adam Yates & James Seymour, Portsmouth, Fire engine!
25 Gareth Robinson/Declan Lynch/Daniel Soper(Australian/Irish team)
For the push South to Benin or Ghana from Gambia:
Matthew Lowry & Tom Norton City Rover WL04 AXM: 3 week team.
Bjoern Tiedemann/Alexander Bludau/David Haigh Arrive Banjul 15th. Volvo V70 ML04JZG
Paul Furber (driving to Banjul) plus Julian Nowill
Neil Kinley (driving to Banjul as well) with Vince Hankinson as hitch hiker(paid) 3 weeks.
Stuart Nicholson (driving to Banjul as well)
Wal Furnish & Mike Parry (driving to Banjul as well)
Car 7 Dave Allen & Ellie Matsanova
Starting line will probably be Sandele lodge Kartong and perhaps Jan 21 or Jan 22 if people need time to get visas in Banjul. No need to go in convoy so some may leave earlier. Julian arrives Banjul Jan 18 with paperwork for cars going further. Visas: hmmm. Some available en route and even on line: https://www.rgb-visa.com/Home.aspx This is the first run so we are all a bit in the dark.
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.