Charity team’s 1,600 miles in four days

Date: Friday 21st December 2018

TWO Eden men completed a 1,600-mile classic car rally over four days while raising money for charity.

David Martin and Brian “Dak” Hodgson, both of Penrith, set out on the Land’s End to John O’Groats route in a 1976 Volvo 142. They were followed by David’s brother, Graham Martin, and Rob Hammond, who took it in turns to drive the support van.

Following several long days, they were one of the 51 vehicles to finish, coming 27th overall and third in class.

The Le JoG Hero’s reliability trial is considered one of the most demanding and challenging events in Europe, and is open to cars of a specification built before 1986. Those taking part do not just travel between the two ends of the country, they take part in special tests along the way and mainly use back roads to get from A to B.

The first of the 71 cars taking part set out from Land’s End at 8am on Saturday, 8th December. They got to Abergavenny at 8pm before setting off for Telford at 10pm and arriving at their destination by 3am.

By 8am they set off for Hexham, arriving by 8pm. The next day, they set off for Fort William at 8am and arrived by 10-30pm, before setting off for John O’Groats, their final destination, which they reached at 10-30am on the Tuesday.

David had always wanted to take part in such a rally challenge, having had an interest in cars throughout his life. He and his family owned Harold’s tyres until its sale to Protyre in 2015.

He said it was “absolutely brilliant” to cross the finish line. Although there were numerous days without much rest, he said he and Brian were running on adrenaline and didn’t feel too tired by the end.

Graham said he thoroughly enjoyed being part of the support crew and would like to take part in the rally itself in the future.

Despite the 42-year-old car having been off the road for four years, it never got into difficulties, the only minor blip being when two rear shock absorbers had to be replaced.

Although it was an expensive trip, with the entry fee alone costing £3,500 and fuel costing £150 a day, the group said they would do it again in a heartbeat.

They raised money for Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide Cumbria and Prevention of Young Suicide, as both causes are close to their hearts. Through their own fundraising, they have so far raised around £500, though donations keep coming in.

The group are all members of Eden Valley Motor Club, and social secretary Chris Walker suggested creating a calendar and donating proceeds to the charities, bringing in £220.

Mathewsons car auction at Thornton-le-Dale, Pickering, has also donated its December charity collection to the two causes.