While most Star readers were enjoying a peaceful Boxing Day, two local teams of intrepid drivers were setting out for a spin - by car to Dakar, Senegal.
The 3000 mile rally is being undertaken in old bangers costing no more than £100 each and will carry on for three weeks to raise cash for various children's charities.
Dave and Karen Dollemore, known as The Dolly Dealers "as Dave is always wheeling and dealing," and their Farnborough friends Matthew and Jaki Adams, aka The Wacky Racers, from Holly Road, are currently bouncing out to adventure in two beaten-up old Ladas, on which they were allowed to spend £15 in "preparations"! Matthew paid just £50 for their vehicle. The amazing adventure is being filmed by Channel Four.
Karen, from Fernhill Road in Cove, did a caravan trip to Northern Spain last year which was 1,600 miles each way, but this time their destination is through France, Spain and Morocco to a place called Dakhla "where the tarmac ends and the fun begins."
They then move on to Mauretania, Senegal and finally Dakar. Four-wheel drive vehicles like the Ladas will drive along the 300 mile beach in Mauretania's national park. Dave and Karen are planning to sleep on the roof of their car, in a tent, to avoid the creepy crawlies that lurk on the ground.
If the vehicles survive the trip they will be handed over to charities in Senegal and Gambia.The adventurers will pass through places like Casablanca and Rabat and aimed to spend new year's eve in Marrakesh.To minimise risk the cars, laden with jerrycans of water and fuel, will travel in convoys of at least ten. Although temperatures may exceed 120 F in some places, Karen says the thing she most dreads is "going to the loo in the desert."
Asked if he was worried about getting lost, Dave Dollemore claimed that as Karen could get to Guildford without a map she would be "a formidable co-driver." None of the teams has ever done anything this adventurous before. "If we had done, do you think we would be going again?" asked Dave.They are hoping to keep Star readers up to date with their progress on a daily basis on this web site: http://rally2002-2003.freehomepage.com/index.html Readers who would like to contribute to their good causes for children can still make their pledges.
Picture: Destination Dakar, Senegal. Setting off in their £100 Ladas are, from left : Dave and Karen Dollemore and Jaki and Matt Adams. Picture: Mike Hawley.