Mechanics covered thousands of miles in this old-banger in a cross-continent rally – and had a brush with the law for their troubles.
Anthony McGinty and Anthony Usher, of Horden’s Seaview Performance Garage, are back from the Benidorm or Bust challenge, which saw 100 eye-catching cars race from Blackpool to Benidorm over four days.
The pair were joined by pal Robert Foster, who decided to hop along last-minute.
The trio made it all the way to the Mediterranean party resort without a hitch – but were stopped outside their hotel by Spanish Police who took one look at their L-reg VW Passat, which had been given a “rat-look” to make it go rusty, and were accused of not having a roadworthy vehicle.
Though Anthony McGinty, 32, said the vehicle – which started the journey with 80,000 miles on the clock – was perfectly fine and after trying to explain the car was taking part in a challenge for charity, the police ordered it out of sight and the friends had to pay £15 a day to keep it in an underground car park during their stay.
The crazy feat was done to raise money for Blackhall boy Bradley Lowery, who is battling childhood cancer neuroblastoma.
Anthony, who is originally from Horden but now lives in Haswell, said it is estimated that once all sponsorship money is collected, more than £2,000 will have been raised for battling Bradley, who turns three on May 17.
The lads covered 3,200 miles in the return trip.
Usually, participants in the challenge scrap their mad-cap vehicles and fly home, but in a bid to raise more sponsor money, the trio decided to drive back in one go, having only a two-hour break in 40 hours and made it back at 2am on Friday, May 9, having set off at 10am on the Wednesday.
Anthony said: “All the way along the route, the police didn’t give us any problems – even in France the police had a look around and understood the gimmick.
“But when we got to Benidorm, the police tried to take the car off us.
“Three police bikes, two police cars and a recovery bike turned up and they said it wasn’t roadworthy.
“They made us store the car in an underground car park at £15 a day. “The car never missed a beat, the journey was spot-on.
“But the drive back broke us.”
The trio went to Le Mans in France and saw the race track and museum and passed through the Pyrenees mountains, though Anthony said it was “pouring down with rain” throughout their trip through France.
Seven cars out of the 100 broke down and 20 cars were driven home.
Anthony added: “We feel really proud of ourselves after tackling the journey and also raising this money for Bradley.”