Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Pedro attends Volksworld Car Show


I'd arranged months ago to take Pedro, my Oz Rally car along to Volksworld, one of the UK's largest VW gatherings. There were one or two small issues to contend with, firstly his engine was out for major surgery. Secondly, as customs still haven't sent me the form to prove that I've paid the import tax, I have been unable to UK register him.

The solution? Mark, aka:Dreamshack, quickly swapped in the engine from his beach buggy for show then knocked up a heavy duty A-frame so I could talk my long suffering, older brother into towing Pedro all the way to the showground at Sandown Park, Esher.

Pedro was displayed on the Baja Club stand. To fit in with my forth-coming expedition the Baja Club opted for an Australian themed display. Lots of sand, a blow-up kangaroo and some mock roadsigns later and you'd have thought you were in the outback! Well, maybe after a few tubes of Fosters!

I painted some DANGER! MINES! signs to highlight the cause I'm supporting on this rally, No More Landmines, and hung a few of their collecting tins around. Almost everone who walked past the car took a photo! Just £50 can provide a prosthetic limb enabling a mine victim to walk again. Just think how many people we could have helped if each person who took a photo had made a donation! Sadly, very few did. I did manage to sell some of my "Bug to Banjul" DVD's though which, with the profits going to No More Landmines helped boost the fundraising. I don't want to break the seals on the fundraising tins so can't give you a total on that yet but the DVD's made around £70, not bad going.


Monday, 16 March 2009

Just Giving tab

The observant amongst you will have noticed a Just Giving widget has appeared on the top right hand side of this page. You'll also notice that the fundraising total is zero! This doesn't mean that my drive to Australia has raised nothing for charity, it just means I have a new fundraising page.

You can still view the old page here:

So why the switch from Smartgive to Just Giving? It's all to do with my employers, Sky Television. Sky have changed their charity fundraising partner, so to ensure I still benefit from their generous employee match-funding scheme, so have I.

Donations on the old page will still be processed by Smartgive and forwarded to No More Landmines in the normal way but new donations should be made via the Just Giving page.
Sorry for the confusion but it really is worth it Sky match my fundraising total up to £300 and will also add another 50% to all donations made by other Sky employees direct from their payroll.

The downside is the zero balance on my new page! Fortunately you can do something about that. Please give generously. No More Landmines is a very good cause and just £50 is enough to allow a landmine victim to walk again.

Monday, 9 March 2009

Big Earth

In other news this photo, which I took in Western Mongolia, just won me a photography competition.

Mini Mongolia

I won a Nikon D60 camera which is going to come in very handy on my journey to Australia. To see the other photos entered or to enter next months competition visit the Big earth website:

The Dreamshack

Mark at the Dreamshack kindly volunteered to do a little work on the Beetle I'm driving to Australia this summer. I think he got a little carried away, not that I mind, "Pedro" is looking great. He's built side bars and bins for our Jerry cans, a heavy duty roof rack with access ladder and is now working on a roll cage:


I dropped in to lend him a hand. I'm sure he would have got twice as much done without me there but he taught me how to take the engine out, check the clutch plate, tighten the gearbox mounts and clean the carb's.

"Pedro" has recently arrived in the UK from California and is totally rust free! I want him to stay that way so before we(ok Mark) put the engine back in I sprayed the underside with lots of gooey, rust-inhibiting underseal:


Sunday, 1 March 2009

Goodwood Breakfast Club - March '09

Today I drove down to the Goodwood Breakfast Club.

The Breakfast Club is an informal car gathering at the Goodwood Motor Circuit in West Sussex. Each month has a different theme, this months theme was Small Sporting Runarounds although this seemed to be quite loosely translated. Parked on the famous tarmac were everthing from Classic and modern Minis to vintage tourers. I love the way this guy had matched his socks to his wheels!

This Noble was parked in a little corner of it's own....not sure about those wing mirrors!The breakfast rolls and Tea were a little overpriced but as this is an open event with no entrance fee you can't really complain at £1.50 for a cuppa. A cash machine on site would be a useful addition though.

After a morning of pure petrol hedonism, fellow Oz rallier, Rachael and I headed down to The Kennels for lunch. I've been a Goodwood Road Racing Club member for more years than I care to admit, for fear of revealing my age, but I've never visited our clubhouse - The Kennels.

Rica, my rally co-driver, is going to wish she was on this side of the Atlantic when I decribe the lunch we devoured! To start; a lovely delicate pasta with chestnuts and a yummy sauce. Main course; pollock with orzo and tiny shrimps in it. (Sorry Rica, I realise my descriptions are lacking something for a chef - and I didn't take any pictures for you)

We hadn't intended on ordering dessert but everthing else was so good, how could we resist? White chocolate mousse with bitter dark chocolate sorbet and raspberry's!

When we went for lunch I'd left my baby Sebring(right of frame) parked next to two Austin Healey 3000's and an MGA.

When we returned they had been transformed into 612 Italian horses.
I may have been tempted to swap for a moment but I've owned "Killer", thats his registration, for 11 years now. I've been tempted to sell him a few times and been offered far more than I paid for him but I just can't do it! It's terribly cruel of me really. If I'd sold him he could be living in the lap of luxury in an air-conditioned garage BUT, as I've always said, cars are made to be driven!
Like me Killer is starting to show his age, we both have a few grey hairs but they are marks of all the fun we've had over the years. I hope he doesn't get jealous of the old Beetle I've bought for the OZ rally!
Watch out for Pedro, my Baja Beetle rally car, at the Goodwood Breakfast Club next month when the theme is family favourites.