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Shap Ahoy - the T4 Challenge

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During December 2005 and January 2006, Tim Lovatt and Nick Capron as Team Shap Ahoy, took part in the Plymouth-Banjul Challenge. They drove a 1996 Toyota Starlet from Cumbria to The Gambia, and in so doing raised a total of £4572.55 for Pageant, which was used for construction and refurbishments at Saloum Nursery. You can find out more about their trip on our Shap Ahoy page. In return for the magnificent support that Shap Ahoy gave to Pageant, we are hosting this page for them telling the story of their latest African adventure - The T4 Challenge.
About the car Move mouse over headings below to show
direct links to daily diary entries
Preparations completed
More information

 A New Challenge

T4 Challenge logo

The Plymouth-Banjul Challenge has now become very popular and is vastly over-subscribed. The logistics mean that there can be only four groups in the Challenge, with about 50 teams in each group. This year, 2007, the organisers added the Bamako Run, which ended up in the capital of Mali. This departed on 13 January, with 45 teams. As with the Plymouth-Banjul Challenge, cars were auctioned in Bamako, with proceeds going to charity. This being a new venture into unknown territory, they decided on a preliminary expedition to reconnoitre the route, known as the T4 Challenge. Nine teams took part in the T4 Challenge, including Tim and Nick as Team 3 - a reincarnated Shap Ahoy.

The route

The T4 Challenge departed on 26 December, and planning to arrive in Bamako on 16 January. see full details Initially they followed the Plymouth-Banjul route across the Channel, through France and Spain, crossing to Tangier, and through Morocco and Western Sahara to Nouakchott in Mauritania. Here they left the Banjul route, and headed east to Nema, crossed into Mali.

The car

Shap Ahoy's car for the T4 Challenge is a 1994 Ford Escort estate. This was bought on eBay. It is left hand drive, and was first registered in Germany. It now has a modest 290,000 kms on the clock!

Tim and Nick have spent a bit of money in fitting a new timing belt and general servicing.

Shap Ahoy's Escort prepared & ready for off>>

Shap Ahoy's Escort prepared & ready for off

14 December - Preparations complete

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Servicing, a few 'tinkering' jobs and repairs to the car were now complete. The car now had a CB radio installed, so they could keep in touch with some of their travelling companions. The Cross Channel Ferry from Dover had been booked for Boxing Day afternoon. They had their Mauritanian visa, but were still awaiting their Mali visas. It was confirmed that nine teams would take part in the T4 Challenge, and all would rendezvous at Sidi Ifni in Morocco for the New Year. Tim promised to send back regular reports to his wife Arlene, who would then pass the information on to us at Pageant. This proved very successful, and in its earlier incarnation, this page consisted largely of these reports. These reports have now been replaced by their diary entries, together with a lot more pictures. To make it quicker to download, we have split the diary into four linked pages. Each diary entry can be accessed through the links in the table below, or from the drop-down menus at the tops of all the pages.

Shap Ahoy T4 Challenge Diary
Day Date km Stage  
      First of linked pages Page A
1 Tues 26th Dec 290,722 Cumbria to Alençon (France) details
2  Wed 27th Dec 291,650 Alençon to  (Spain) details
3 Thurs 28th Dec 292,535 Miranda de Ebro to Tarifa details
4 Fri 29th Dec 293,530 Ferry to Tangiers (Morocco), on to Marrakech details
5 Sat 30th Dec 294,100 Rest day in Marrakech details
6 Sun 31st Dec 294,100 Marrakech to Sidi Ifni details
7 Mon 1st Jan 294,570 Day in Sidi Ifni details
      Second of linked pages Page B
8 Tues 2nd Jan 294,570 Sidi Ifni to Laayoune details
9 Wed 3rd Jan 295,022 Laayoune to Dakhla details
10 Thurs 4th Jan 295,618 Dakhla to Nuoakchott details
11 Fri 5th Jan   Day in Nuoakchott details
12 Sat 6th Jan 296,445 Nuoakchott to Kiffa details
13  Sun 7th Jan   Day at Kiffa campsite details
      Third of linked pages Page C
14 Mon 8th Jan   Into Mali to Nioro details
15 Tues 9th Jan 297,475 Nioro to Bamako details
16 Wed 10th Jan   Day in Bamako details
17 Thurs 11th Jan 297,981 Bamako to Niono details
18 Fri 12th Jan 298,350 Niono to Dioura details
19 Sat 13th Jan 298,500 Dioura to Timbuktu details
20 Sun 14th Jan 298,893 Day in Timbuktu details
21  Mon 15th Jan   Relaxing in Timbuktu details
      Last of linked pages Page D
22 Tues 16th Jan   Timbuktu to Mopti details
23 Wed 17th Jan   Mopti to Segou details
24 Thurs 18th Jan   Segou to Bamako details
25 Fri 19th Jan   Last day in Bamako details
26 Sat 20th Jan   The flight home details
      Final notes details

More Information


Donation to Pageant At the end of their T4 Challenge, Tim and Nick made a donation of £250 to Pageant.

Plymouth-Banjul Challenge For the latest information, see the official Plymouth-Banjul Challenge website. See also their archived version of the 2007 Plymouth-Banjul website. Further information about the teams which took part in 2007 and helped Pageant is on our 2007 Challenge Page.

Festival of the Desert Tim and Nick had hoped to get to Timbuktu in time to attend the Festival of the Desert. This is a music and Tuareg culture festival at Essakane, a desert oasis 65 kilometres from Timbuktu. Events conspired to prevent this, but for anyone interested, here are some links:


Pageant is a UK Charity - Registered No 1093963

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