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Monday, 28 July 2014

Pair aiming to drive 3,000 miles in £200 car for charity

A driver is hoping a car he bought for less than £200 will cover 3,000 miles across Europe.

Charity drivers photo
Ian Hardy, left, and Richard Dixon with their car

Thirty-three-year-old Ian Hardy, of Cotehill, near Carlisle, is used to challenging cars thanks to his job as a motor vehicle tutor at Ullswater Community College.

But none have been quite as challenging as the few pounds of scrap he and co-driver Richard Dixon bought to take them from Calais, in France, to Valencia, in Spain, in the Ramshackle Rally.

The pair began their epic adventure yesterday and will cover a route across France, Italy and Spain, including a rally in Monaco with other vintage vehicles.

They will be one of 32 completing the Ramshackle Rally, which includes a circuit of the famous F1 Monaco race, around the streets of the city.

Ian and Richard, who is from Durham, have transformed the 1995 ‘M’ registration Ford Mondeo, into Disney cartoon character Lightning McQueen, from the film Cars, with creative paintwork and transfers.

They’ve been helped by Ian’s motor vehicle engineering students and AST Signs in Penrith, stripping the car down to the basics and replacing any worn parts.

Ian, who spent 10 years as a race car engineer for the Juno Racing Team, specialising in high-powered cars to take part in the Le Mans 24-hour race, said they were confident of finishing.

“We don’t have any finishing position in mind,” he said. “We’ve tried to find out about the challenges, but they are being kept a closely guarded secret.

“When the cars finish the race many of the other competing cars will be scrapped. However, we intend to drive our vehicle back to Penrith and use it for the mechanical engineering students at the college.”

Despite the madcap rally, the adventure has a serious side, to raise money for Cancer Research, in memory of Don Clark, who was married to Ian’s cousin, Sharron. He died aged just 43 three years ago after battling bowel cancer.

The pair hoped to raise £1,000 but donations have nearly doubled that and are still coming in.

Sharron said: “When Ian suggested that he and a friend take part in the Ramshackle Rally, I was overcome. Don would have loved this challenge and would be very proud of it taking place in his name.”

Ian and Richard hope to complete the rally and be back in Penrith, by reverse route, but with time for sightseeing, by next Friday.

To sponsor the pair go to www.justgiving.com/drivingfordon

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