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The Plymouth-Banjul Challenge 2007

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The Plymouth-Banjul Challenge started in 2003 (December 2002 actually), when it was called the Plymouth-Dakar Challenge. The 2007 Challenge took place over the end of 2006 - beginning of 2007. As before, it involved driving cars across Europe and North Africa to Banjul in The Gambia, on a very limited budget, with absolutely no official support. Winning is not important - just getting there is the challenge. After finishing, the cars are all auctioned off and the proceeds donated to Gambian charities ASSET (Association of Small Scale Enterprises in Tourism) and GNOC (The Gambia National Olympic Committee). In addition the teams raise sponsorship for a variety of charities and good causes. The numbers applying to take part in the 2007 Challenge exceeded what could be accommodated in the usual four groups, so the organisers launched the Bamako Run to the capital of Mali for those unable to get into the Plymouth-Banjul Challenge. Quite a bit of the route was the same, but the section through Mauritania into Mali needed investigation. The T4 Challenge was a preliminary expedition to check the route. It consisted of 9 teams, and one of these was Shap Ahoy, who had previously raised over 4500 for Pageant during the 2006 Plymouth-Banjul Challenge. (see more details)

There were about 190 teams in the 2007 Challenge, divided into four groups, with official starting dates of 19, 26 and 29 December 2006, and 2 February 2007. The official starting point, Plymouth, was totally ignored by most teams, who started from points all over the UK and several other European countries. The 30 teams on the Bamako run started on 13 January 2007, with the preliminary T4 Challenge starting on 26 December 2006. These are the teams which helped Pageant in some way:

Group 1 Teams

left UK for Banjul on 19 December 2006

Ibrakeforcake Summary Pageant page IBFC Blog
Desert Mice
First to the Bar!
Summary Pageant page  
Iron Mighty Summary   Iron Mighty Website
Group 3 Teams

left UK for Banjul on 29 December 2006

IceCold in Bakalarr
IceCold in Banjul
Summary Pageant page IceCold Website
IceCold Blog
T4 Challenge

left UK on 26 December 2006 on route proving run to Mali

Shap Ahoy Summary Pageant page  
Summary of 2006 Challenges
Plymouth-Banjul Challenge Videos


These summaries have been created to give a succinct overview of the stories of the 'Pageant' teams. At the time of writing, all teams have completed the challenges, but further information and pictures are still coming in for publication on the team pages. This page will be updated accordingly.


Dave and Chris with Kemo, and the Ibrakeforcake Isuzu Trooper at Sinchu BaliyaIbrakeforcake is a collective dedicated to the outdoors, the destruction of apathy and the consumption of cake. Their activities include motor-sport, hiking, rock-climbing, surfing and extreme cycling.

Two members of this collective, Chris Lawler and Dave Branfield acquired an 18 year old Isuzu Trooper, a popular and successful vehicle in the Challenge. They decided to help Pageant's activities in The Gambia, particularly in Sinchu Baliya.

Team Ibrakeforcake left Hyde Park (London) on 17 December 2006, and despite constant worries about the gearbox stripping its fifth gear, they arrived in Banjul on 7 January 2007, with everything still more-or-less functioning. A full description of their preparations and reports about their journey can be found on the Ibrakeforcake team page. See also the main Ibrakeforcake website, and their Blog dedicated to the Challenge.

Their fundraising target was 4000. BOC-Edwards kindly agreed to match other donations pound for pound, to double whatever was raised. We do not have any final totals yet. Edison Schools kindly donated 800 towards team costs and 1200 to Pageant for the purchase of school supplies which they took to The Gambia. Ibrakeforcake's Isuzu Trooper sold for 39,000 Dalassis (about 700) in the third charity auction held on 28 January 2007 at the Safari Garden Hotel.

Desert Mice & First to the Bar!

Clare Jones de Rocco & Guillermo Rocco from the Netherlands, and Katie Ball & Adam Richards from Cardiff have entered the Challenge as the Desert Mice and First to the Bar. Clare is from Wales and Guillermo is from Argentina. They are currently living and working in The Hague, Holland. Katie and Adam are both in the legal profession in Cardiff - Katie is Clare's sister. The two teams worked together for their fundraising and preparations. Despite their separate starting points, they travelled in convoy to Banjul, arriving on 7 January 2007.  Read more about them on their team page. Together they raised around 3000, which  is all going to King's Kid Academy. Both cars were sold in the first charity auction held at the Safari Gardens Hotel in Banjul on 14th January 2007. The Desert Mice Jetta sold for 57,000 Dalasis (about 1,022) and First to the Bar's Escort raised 66,000 Dalasis (about 1,184). These were about five times the prices paid for the cars!

Adam, Katie, Clare & Guillermo with Kings Kid headmaster Jacob Amadi

Both cars almost obscured by the children of Kings Kid

Adam, Katie, Clare & Guillermo with
Kings Kid headmaster Jacob Amadi

Both cars almost obscured by
the children of Kings Kid

Iron Mighty

Iron Mighty were not officially supporting Pageant, but they had collected a large quantity of football shirts, shorts and socks, and other sports kit. They requested Pageant's help in distributing these items to schools in The Gambia, and Kemo organised this. They also took a special Pageant consignment of cricket equipment and clothing for the Gambian national cricket team, donated by Ram International.

Iron Mighty's Land Rover

Dave Wells and Linda Drury's wedding in Banjul

The Iron Mighty Land Rover

Team Iron Mighty consisted of Dave Wells and Linda Drury, driving a 1986 Land Rover 110. Not content with driving all the way to The Gambia, they got married there on 10 January.

 Read more on the Iron Mighty website.


The wedding picture

Ice Cold 2007 Teams

Ice Cold in Bakalarr
consisted of Joanne Hill and Alex Thomas. Their vehicle was a Ford Transit ambulance, with a 2.8 litre petrol engine, acquired in  Caerphilly. Though it should correctly be called an ambiwlans, it came to be known as the 'Meatwagon'.

Ice Cold in Banjul consisted of Chris Fisher,  and Russell Grinham, driving a 1989 A Suzuki SJ413 4x4 vehicle. This started off in camouflage, deemed  inappropriate for passing through military zone, so was repainted pink, and then acquired floral decoration. It came to be known as the 'Jap Jeep'.

Ice Cold team members with the jeep in its original colours

Ice Cold team members with the jeep
in its original colours

young sponsors add floral decorations to the jeep in its new pink colour scheme

IceCold's ambulance having UJ surgery

young sponsors add floral decorations
to the jeep in its new pink colour scheme

the ambulance being mended en-route

The two teams travelled together, leaving the UK on 29 December 2006. The ambulance had a difficlut journey. There were mechanical problems such as the exhaust, a universal joint, the fuel pump and the brakes. It was also impounded by Moroccan customs at Tangier. It got through the desert surprisingly well, and gained additional human cargo as other cars in the convoy died by the wayside. The jeep performed almost faultlessly.

In all the Ice Cold teams raised around 9000, of which 4803.19 was donated to Pageant for Bakalarr School, and the remainder went to Health The Gambia. Read more on our Ice Cold page, and also on the Ice Cold website and Blog.

The ambulance was donated to Fagikunda clinic to become the only ambulance serving about 67,000 people. The Jeep sold for 76,000 Dalassis (about 1,363) in the third charity auction held at the Safari Garden Hotel, Banjul on 28 January, bringing the total raised above the target of 10k.

Shap Ahoy T4 Challenge

In addition to these teams in the Plymouth-Banjul Challenge, Team Shap Ahoy are involved in a preliminary expedition, known as the T4 Challenge, with the objective of reconnoitring the route for the Bamako Run. Tim Lovatt and Nick Capron, took part in the 2006 Plymouth-Banjul Challenge, driving a 1996 Toyota Starlet, and raised nearly 4600 for Pageant.

For the T4 Challenge, Shap Ahoy's car was a 1994 Ford Escort estate, with 290,000 km on the clock. The T4 route followed the Plymouth-Banjul route as far as Nuoakchott in Mauritania, but then headed inland to Mali. This part needed checking out before the first Bamako Run. Shap Ahoy and the others left the UK on 26 December, and arrived in Bamako on 11 January, with just trivial mechanical problems. Nick had to come home because of pressure of work, but Tim continued with other teams to Timbuktu, where he sold the car, and returned to Bamako as passenger in Team 9's Land Rover.

Tim with the new owners of the car in Timbuktu >>

Tim with the new owners of the car in Timbuktu

Although Shap Ahoy were not fundraising, and covered all their own expenses for this trip, they have made a donation of 250 to Pageant. Read more about their journey on the Shap Ahoy T4 page.

Plymouth-Banjul Challenge Videos

There are quite a few videos from previous Challenges, plus preparations for the 2007 Challenge. These will give you a good idea of the driving conditions during the Challenge:


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