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. Teams leave the UK every December and lists are now opening for the Dec 26 2018 run.
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 teams meet at the rally hotel. 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. There is a not for profit car buying service for those who cannot buy a car easily and this includes all paperwork.
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 ending in the Gambia MUST be donated to the Charities Control Committee. 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.
In Jan 2018 a number of people pushed on South getting as far as Benin. This will happen again in Jan 2019. 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 £800 per car. Teams going to Banjul are also able to Push South for no extra fee. Bookings for this run are now opening and I will be emailing all on the e-list to formally launch things in Mid Feb.
Teams for 2018 are beginning to sign up and thusfar we have:
Colin Casey & Andy Jeffs
Martin Smith & Jane Davison
Peter Shields & Daniel Petkoff
Graham Deacon & Giles Walker
Cyrille Djankoff & Isabelle Blanchot
Darren Warner/Philip Huke
Andy & Bryan Rolfe
Tony Frey & Stephanie Sears
Kate Ashdown & Rachael-Ann Queen
For the Push South to Ghana, we have:
Teams for Dec 2017 were:
1 Saparmurat Turkmenbashi
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, 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 Jan 2018 push South to Benin or Ghana from Gambia we had:
Matthew Lowry & Tom Norton City Rover
Bjoern Tiedemann/Alexander Bludau/David Haigh
Paul Furber (driving to Banjul) Isuzu Bighorn
Neil Kinley (driving to Banjul as well)
Stuart Nicholson (driving to Banjul as well)
Wal Furnish & Mike Parry (driving to Banjul as well)
Car 7 Dave Allen & Ellie Matsanova(driving to Banjul)
Car 8 Hilly & Steve Broadstock
Car 9 Julian Nowill, Suzuki Vitara HV02HZJ
Car 10 Vince Hankinson, Tom Williams
Starting line will probably be Sandele lodge Kartong and perhaps Jan 21 or Jan 22 2019 if people need time to get visas in Banjul. No need to go in convoy so some may leave earlier. Visas are a real pain if not gotten in advance or in Banjul.
The fee is £399, per car,and lists are now open for the Dec 2018 trip.
For your fee you get:
•One Sahara Overland book if passing rally HQ
•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; a night each in Zebrabar camp St Louis and Sandele lodge Gambia
•Free night at rally HQ Whimple, Devon as we run a B&B; at any time in 2018. Thus get a full briefing before you go.
•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.