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RAF MILDENHALL

A British team of car enthusiasts plans to complete a 4,000-mile car rally from Plymouth to the Gambia in western Africa all in the name of charity.

But the three-man crew is without a key ingredient — a car. The crew is currently looking for a generous airman to donate a junker.

About 200 cars are expected to take part in the rally, called the Plymouth- Dakar Challenge, later this year. The challenge allows “cash-strapped explorers” to push cheap cars to the limits while raising money for registered charities in Africa.

“The rally is not a race and nor is it competitive. … The idea is simply to survive the journey and help each other along the way,” Paul Fullick, one of the crewmembers wrote in an e-mail to Stars and Stripes.

The rules for the charity rally are simple but still constrain each crew.

The car used must be a left-hand drive costing no more than 100 pounds; only 15 pounds can be spent to prepare the car for the rally; once the rally has started, each crew will be on its own with no backup; and cars lucky enough to finish will be auctioned off for charity in the Gambia.

In his search for a car, Fullick, of Norwich, decided to contact the 48th Security Forces Squadron last week after reading a Stripes’ article published in December on the high number of vehicles abandoned on RAF Lakenheath.

Investigator Tech. Sgt. Joe Marston told Fullick that he would keep a lookout for potential vehicles.

Besides being left-hand drive, the ideal car for the crew would be diesel, four-wheel drive, economical as well as reliable. The team also will consider non-runners.

“Obviously we are planning to make the best out of whatever we can get hold of,” Fullick said on behalf of his crew, which also consists of Simon Brackwell and Colin Martin.

The person who donates a car to the crew will be able to choose the name and color of it, Fullick added.

Once a car has been found, the crew will seek donations through sponsorship and selling advertising space on the car.

“We want to raise as much money as possible, and the sky is the limit,” Fullick said.

Those interested can donate money through the team’s Web site, www. wrongwaydown.org. Other items such as tow ropes, a satellite phone, even cigarettes and magazines that will be used for bribery can be donated, too.

“We will leave [the country] with only the items donated to us,” said Fullick, adding that duplicated items will go to other crews.


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