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Plymouth-Banjul Challenge - 'Super Trooper'

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Team 'Super Trooper' - Rupert Williams & Paul Clifford

The Plymouth-Banjul Challenge started in 2003 as an ironic tribute to the Paris-Dakar Rally. Instead of highly expensive cars driven by world class rally drivers, with large back-up teams, this challenge consists of small teams on strictly limited budgets, and at the end of the challenge, the cars are auctioned for the benefit of local good causes. For further information, see the Plymouth-Banjul Challenge 2006 website.  There were several teams taking part in this challenge, and in the Amsterdam-Dakar Challenge, who decided to help Pageant in different ways. For more information see our 2005/6 Challenge Page.

Rupert Williams and Paul Clifford, from Malmesbury, Wiltshire, were the second team who took part in this challenge, and raised money for Pageant. Super Trooper was in Group 2 of the Challenge, with a departure date of 26th December 2005. Their car was a 1989 Isuzu Trooper, with a 2.6 litre  petrol engine, which had spent most of its life in the deserts of the Middle East, so had no heater. December promised to be cold for the team and they hadn't at that time figured out how to demist the windows. It was 4 wheel drive, and of course left hand drive. Right hand drive cars are strongly discouraged in The Gambia. It was bought for 600, with 12 months MOT, but apart from that needed some help to get to the Gambia.

Plymouth-Banjul Challenge - Team Super Trooper - the car

Mr Bakary Gitteh and Paul Clifford pose by 'Super Trooper' at Southwater

Rupert and Paul's Isuzu Trooper

Paul with Bakalarr Headmaster Mr Gitteh

The wooden board under the front in the left hand picture was to soak up the power steering fluid which was leaking. Both front footwells could be used as foot baths as they filled with water when it rained and then the clutch slave cylinder broke, so they couldn't change gear. All four tyres were bald and cracked, which matched the windscreen which was cracked too - and it needed to do 3,800 miles? The team then purchased  another Trooper from Ebay for 92 to use for spares, so Paul's garden looked like a scrapyard and his wife wanted to know why they had five cars outside the house.

The picture above right shows Paul (right) with Mr Bakary Gitteh, the headmaster of Bakalarr School in The Gambia, who was visiting to the UK in August 2005.

By mid October, the vehicle was in a drivable state, but it always seemed to have another trick to throw at Rupert and Paul.  For instance, it ran out of petrol even though the gauge said just under a quarter!

They held a Cheese and Wine Evening to raise funds, in Malmesbury on Saturday 26th November. This was very successful and raised over 1000 for Pageant. They collected over 100 T-shirts and ex-Slough Football Team kit, as well as countless pencils, pens, chalk and textbooks. These items were all handed over to Mr Bakary Gitteh (Bakalarr headmaster) when they stopped off at the school on their way to Banjul.

Super Trooper successfully completed the Challenge, despite loss of four wheel drive in the desert. Here are a few pictures, but for many  more please look at their online photo album.

the Trooper in the desert

the Trooper in the desert

a novel method of route planning

a novel method of route planning


Rupert & Paul with the Bakalarr team wearing
 their ex-Slough Football Team kit >>

Rupert and Paul in appropriate desert dress

Rupert and Paul in appropriate desert dress

in Banjul at the end of the Challenge

in Banjul at the end of the Challenge

Rupert & Paul with the Bakalarr team wearing their ex-Slough Football Team kit

As well as the money raised for Pageant, the sale of the car raised 36,000 Dalasis (708) for ASSET and GNOC. The final total which Super Trooper raised for Pageant was 4,388.45

More Team Super Trooper Information

Plymouth-Banjul Challenge 2006 website gives a great deal of interesting information about the Challenge, and there is a Super Trooper Team Page. The team has its own website.

Photo Album - Paul has set up an online photo album where you can see a selection from the hundreds of pictures they took during the Challenge.

See our 2005/6 Challenge Page for more information about other teams who took part in the Plymouth-Banjul 2006 and Amsterdam-Dakar 2005 Challenges.


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