What the Veterans’ Banger Rally may lack in style compared to other vehicular events in aid of SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity it makes up for with an equal amount of dedication and a gung-ho spirit mixed with a dash of optimism and a splash of “Keep calm and carry on” and “Mustn’t grumble”.
The Veterans’ Banger Rally, a madcap idea to gather an assortment of bargain-basement bangers worth £500 or less, and drive them – more in hope than certainty – from Dover to Gibraltar with monies raised going to SSAFA.
The departure date from Dover is September 13, and spaces are still available for teams to sign up.
Organiser John McGowan – a veteran – is at pains to point out that it is not a race, though he adds that it will be a trial of endurance for vehicles and occupants. And, appropriately enough, one of the stops en route is Le Mans, the home of endurance motor racing.
John who lives in Prestatyn, said:
“Sponsored by KNO Solutions and Sterling Insurance, this five-day rally is open to veterans and their families and friends and each team will be raising funds for SSAFA as well as their own nominated charities as they put their vehicles, and possibly their sanity, to the test.
“The older and more knackered the car, the better. Cover the rust and cracks with stickers and gaffer tape or black nasty, customise to your heart’s desire, obtain sponsorship for your chosen charity (military or non-military), and away we go along some of the most beautiful roads that France and Spain have to offer.”
John added that a party atmosphere is
“…almost guaranteed with around 100 teams – including three teams made up of Chelsea Pensioners – driving the route from Dover to Gibraltar in stupid-looking cars”.
He notes that teams can then scrap the cars there and fly home, or drive them back in “Top-Gear style”.
He is also grateful to North Wales’ company Aber Falls Distillery, which has sponsored and badged up a car to take part.
The entry fee is £300 per team, which can consist of two-to-four people. The vehicle must be fully insured for all drivers, and must have valid tax and a current MOT. John also advises that teams take out breakdown recovery for their vehicle.
Included in the entry fee are a single ferry crossing from Dover to Calais, a decal pack and plaque for each vehicle, event (NOT car) insurance, a donation to SSAFA, as well as medals for all participants and certificates for all teams.
“It’s going to be a lot of fun for a great cause, and so all of us at the Veterans’ Banger Rally 2022 hope you’ll sign up and get ready to hit the road to Gib in September.”
Visit veteransbangerrally.co.uk for full details, route, rules and regulations, and how to sign up.
For more information, visit ssafa.org.uk.