Whacky racers – Hartlepool friends complete 1,500-mile escapade in 19-year-old car

Geting ready for their journey from Blackpool to Benidorm in a car with Miles for Men livery are l-r Mick Day, Keith Robinson of Advance Motor Company, Hartlepool, Alan Hay, Darren Everitt, David Sowerby and  Neil Hancock.
Geting ready for their journey from Blackpool to Benidorm in a car with Miles for Men livery are l-r Mick Day, Keith Robinson of Advance Motor Company, Hartlepool, Alan Hay, Darren Everitt, David Sowerby and Neil Hancock.
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It was Benidorm or bust for these four Hartlepool lads who completed a 1,529-mile challenge - in a banger.

Darren Everett, David Sowerby, Neil Hancock and Alan Hay faced everything from a failed alternator to drained battery as they battled across Europe.

They painted the car in the colours of Hartlepool-based cancer charity Miles for Men and The Huntington’s Disease Association and raised £3,102. They joined 200 clapped out cars travelling from Blackpool to Benidorm in Spain.

The four lads took turns to drive the 1996 N-reg Mercedes C280 and said: “Our trip started from Hartlepool to Blackpool for the start point of the rally. It then took us from Blackpool to Dover across to Calais for an overnight stop.”

By day three, they reached Zaragoza in Spain, crossing the Pyrenees. “The sights were well worth the trip.

“At this point, we noticed our alternator had failed but having no spare parts we had to bite the bullet and continue.

“After a night in Zaragoza we set off for Benidorm as we had a broken car. We decided not to stop on this day and travel down in one go.

“Then, 30 miles outside Benidorm, the battery had drained and we came to a stop on a very warm motorway. As we had decided to risk it and take no tools, we then found some old spanners in the boot to remove the battery. Another team 40 mile behind us had a spare battery to loan us for the rest of our journey.

“So after 1529 miles over three days in a Merc we made it into Benidorm and managed to raise an impressive £3,102 for our two chosen charities.”

The team chose to support the Huntington’s Disease Association after former town student 16-year-old Ellie-Mae Morgan died from the condition last year.