Banjul Challenge

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 open for the Dec 2019 run. The cost per car is £399, and teams leave the UK in Dec 2019. The next rally may start on 15 Jan 2021, but no final decision has been made yet.

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 Roadbook 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 x 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.

This year we are supporting for the first time and hope that all teams will find space for a prosthetic leg or two in their cars.

Please see the application form for more details.

Click here for our Driving Challenges Application Form

Teams for 2019 so far are:

  • Gordon Mackie / Andrew Mackie / Graham Mackie(G)
  • Steve & Richard Sidebotham
  • Gavin & Zoe Pattison
  • Seamus McHugh & Heather Nagel
  • Cyrille Djankoff/Isabelle Blanchott(G)
  • Barbel Lochman Ritter & Gerhard Schilling
  • Chris Gulliver / Mark Hahnel(G)
  • Daniel Church / Lawrence Church(Mauri)
  • Philip & Christine Nash
  • Hans Pfeiffer / Thomas Rothe
  • Pamela Keck / Jareb Steines
  • Andy & Bryan Rolfe
  • Martin Smith & Jane Davison
  • Gavin Pattison
  • Faheem Kajee & Aisha Chottani
  • Nick Merry/John Buttress
  • Hilary Nowill / Sarah Blewett