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Man in £20 van makes it to Gambia

Plymouth-Dakar triumph for Reg hack

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After crossing France, Spain, Morocco, the Sahara, Mauritania, Senegal and finally the Gambia, Group One of this year's Plymouth-Dakar rally made it safe and sound to Banjul late last week.

The cars were auctioned off on Saturday morning and broke all previous records for the amount raised.

Gambia jaunt

Twenty-eight cars went under the hammer, the rest were either given direct to deserving causes or will be sold later, and they raised a total of 1.4m dalasis (£30,000) - more than all three auctions made last year. Top price was 110,000 dalasis for an Opel Astra estate and even the aged East German Trabant went for 16,500 dalasis (about £300). The organisers managed to get the import duty reduced to 10,000 dalasis for all cars in the auction. Camping equipment, jerry cans and various other bits of kit were also sold off.

Team 145's plucky Citroen van, piloted by Reg hack John Oates and Alexei Boltho, sold for 45,000 dalasis - just less than £900 - a decent profit margin on the £20 purchase price. Plumber's mastic kept the drive shaft together through the three day desert crossing and over Gambia's extremely rutted roads. We covered 7,172 kilometres with just one puncture. We also used two litres of oil. We had no other mechanical problems except a window popping off its runners when we crossed a river a little too quickly in Senegal.

Her new owner - Lamini Saho is still not sure what she will be used for - a bush taxi or delivery van seem most likely.

Gambia jaunt

The money raised will go to a variety of projects in Gambia.

Gambia jaunt

A big thank you to our sponsors including all at Classic Car Storage for mechanical genius, Microsoft UK for picking up the petrol bill, all at El Reg and numerous other generous individuals. Anyone with Christmas money left can give to Medecins Sans Frontieres here. ®

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