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Track Our Progress: Team Flapjack

Driving hundreds of miles in a banger might not be everyone's cup of tea but I have to confess i'm pretty jealous of the guys off on the adventure of a lifetime.
For those of us back at home i'll be blogging Adam and Don's journey from the comparative luxury of our spare room... - Charmian

Day 19 - Monday 19th February 2007 - (Banjul)

2.17am - text message from Adam saying that Team Flapjack have arrived in Banjul!

Had a longer chat with Adam this afternoon as he was sitting by the pool with a beer in his hand (jealous?! I don't know what you mean :-) ...

Team flapjack are proud to be in the 1st group of desert route cars to reach Banjul - hurray! For those of you sponsoring by mile, Adam's going to take a picture of Leo's speedo for you, but they've basically done about 3700 miles in about 2 and a half weeks - wow!

The guys were very lucky with the ferry crossing last night which usually stop early, a not so lucky guy with meningitis had to be ferried across to be transferred to hospital so the teams took the opportunity to get a lift on the ferry's return journey.

I fear Don and Adam may take a bit of adjusting to driving back in the UK - Don was caught out by the road rules in Nouakchott and did a impressive rally style skid pan effort to avoid being crashed into on a roundabout but no harm done!

So the team are very chuffed to be at the end of the journey with the prospect of a nice week of holiday in the sun to look forward to, ah the good life!

Leo is still very much in one piece, Adam said the auction actually takes place at the weekend after the teams have left but we'll update you on how much he fetches for charity. Poor Leo, thanks for getting them there safely - hope your next owner appreciates your paint job!

Well unless anything of particular note happens before the flight back on Friday i'll sign off - much as i'd like to report on the swimming, sunbathing, drinking and fishing that will follow no doubt.

Hope you've enjoyed the blog and don't forget you can still celebrate Team Flapjack's efforts by donating to the Teenage Cancer Trust at their justgiving website - no doubt Adam will update you when he gets back. Thanks for reading - Charmian

The Plymouth-Banjul Challenge 2007 - Banjul and not bust!

Day 18 - Sunday 18th February 2007 - (? Banjul!)

4pm - While trying to finalise my purchases before Tesco closed, I had a 2 minute call from Adam saying they were at the Senegal border (good news, this means they're not lost!) and asking me to buy 3 copies of The News of the World.

After another look at the field reports, it seems the lost team (Costa blanca dons?) have been found, are ok and are being air lifted out!

Having bought my 3 copies of The News of the World i've been through it twice and can't find anything in it about the Banjul run... Adam said he'd try and call back later so possibly more of an update then.

The good news is that if all goes according to plan(!) Team Flapjack should arrive in Banjul tonight! Which gives them a good week of partying before the flight back :-)

Day 17 - Saturday 17th February 2007 - (? St Louis)

Radio silence again today - Slightly worrying post on the Plymouth Banjul website field reports saying that one of the teams has got lost and to see tomorrow's edition of The News of the World!

Day 16 - Friday 16th February 2007 - (on the way to Nouakchott? Nouakchott)

No news today - the guys should be back on roads by now and be on the way to Nouakchott.

Day 15 - Thursday 15th February 2007 - (Sahara Desert)

The beach run...

News! Had a call from Adam tonight about 5.30pm to say that team flapjack and the others they're convoying with are parked up on the beach about to have a big pot of stew around a camp fire :-)

Driving along the beach today was slightly easier going than yesterday and having had all that time to practice, Leo only got beached once (and went on strike when the boys got a bit keen driving through the surf but a good squirt of WD40 set him right).

Sounds like the guys in the ambulance ("Monty I ain't"?) are having a hard time and have limped on ahead to get a head start on the others for tomorrow.

Back at the ranch - my new enthusiasm for doing unwarranted amounts of housework seems to have been short lived. Not sure if this is a good sign or a bad sign... at least Adam might recognise the house when he gets back!

The call from Adam tonight highlights a comedy state of affairs - that the mobile reception in the sahara desert is better that at my office in Sandy (no pun intended!). How does that work?!

Day 14 - Wednesday 14th February 2007 - Valentine's Day! (Sahara Desert)

No news today - camping in the Saraha Desert.

Driving through the desert today, while perfecting the art of driving through sand dunes Leo had to be dug out a few times but no serious damage. Camping in the desert isn't as cold as reported and the guide is definitely worth his weight in gold!

Day 13 - Tuesday 13th February 2007 (Nouadhibou)

Out of the mine field and into the desert!

No i'm not joking, the route did actually go through a mine field but i've heard from Adam since arriving in Nouadhibou so they made it through ok!

I feel like i've been saying this since Saturday, but if you zoom in on the map you'll see that there really aren't any roads between Nouadhibou and Nouakchott. So this is the properly hard core bit of the journey!

Leo was feeling a bit hot under the collar today but with some modifications to the fan seems to be standing up to the 40 degree heat now.

Yesterday evening when I tried to go to a rehearsal I discovered my car had a binding handbrake so I couldn't get off the drive without leaving huge skid marks. With my usual mechanic in the Sahara desert, Dad came to the rescue - thanks Dad!
Oh the irony...

9.20pm - Call from Adam saying that they'd arrived safely and were going for a Chinese then getting an early night. The teams are leaving for the desert early tomorrow morning so there will be radio silence for about 4/5 days.

Silence or not i'm going to blog it - see you on the other side guys.

Day 12 - Monday 12th February 2007 (Dakhla)

Rest day to make preparations for the desert.

A chance to explore Dakhla today, make the most of creature comforts while they last and get Leo ready for the toughest part of the journey so far - no roads just sand. Well he looks like an off-roader with those wheels, he and the boys should be fine...

In a good show of team spirit Team flapjack are travelling with (I think) 5 other teams, one of which is driving a van towing a caravan... tricky to get through the desert you might think? Well it sounds like they're going to give it a good go!

Day 11 - Sunday 11th February 2007 (Dakhla)

Civilization stops here for a while!

The team heads to Dakhla today which is the last stop before the Sahara Desert section really starts.

Day 10 - Saturday 10th February 2007 (Campsite near Laayoune)

The start of the off road section.

Although most of today's 500km were on road, the campsite the guys are staying in tonight is 4km off the beaten track. Staying in a traditional camp (no need for their tent tonight!) Team Flapjack are relaxing and celebrating getting this far.

Leo is starting to show slight signs of fatigue, a knock to the sump guard has prompted some modifications (although that's what it's for, without it the sump would have been knocked to bits long ago!) and a split in the neck where you put the petrol in has developed but the team are confident they can patch that up easily.

When I spoke to Adam he said that the sky was the biggest and clearest he'd ever seen it - fantastic for star gazing!

No stars in St Neots tonight, the rain that held off long enough for me to cycle back from the train station is back. Never mind, the guys are safe and sound and I can imagine the stars...

Day 9 - Friday 9th February 2007 (Tiznit)

Trip through the Atlas mountains.

In true character, when there's an easy route and a hard route Adam, Don and Leo aren't going to do things in half measures. Don't think they actually meant to take the 4x4 route but none the less negotiated the tizi-n-test pass safely through the mountains to arrive in Tiznit for the night.

Sounds like a tough but very satisfying route, especially seeing the amazed looks from other westerners in their cushy 4x4s on the way to the top of this 'inaccessible' 2089m peak as they get passed by a small convoy of clapped out bangers!

An amazing day by all accounts in fact I quote "the best so far!". Think they'll sleep well tonight - well wouldn't you in a 4* hotel that cost £30?!

Day 8 - Thursday 8th February 2007 (Marrakech)

Rest, buying supplies and exploring in Marrakech.

According to Adam if you find a shop that sells what you want, the shop is stacked floor to ceiling with whatever it is. From what he said - although getting fuel hasn't been a problem so far, jerry cans are quite high on the list!

Day 7 - Wednesday 7th February 2007 (Marrakech)

9pm - News! I rushed out of the pub to have a chat with Adam who was sitting on top of Leo in a camp site in Marrakech.

Apparantly the trip through Morocco is going smoothly so far, yesterday by the time the lads got through the crazy 'every man for himself' traffic to their hotel in Casablanca there wasn't much time for sightseeing.

Marrakech though is much more relaxed and tomorrow is set aside as a rest day so the team will be able to re-coup and explore the city.

Good to hear that the team have met some really nice people and they seem to be picking up some useful local dos and don'ts (left hand - don't!). Everyone is friendly, if curious - not surprising with Leo's paint job!

I wonder if people in Morocco think that the 150 teams of banger enthusiasts they see each year represent your average Brit?!

Day 6 - Tuesday 6th February 2007 (? Somewhere in Morocco Casablanca)

Well as Adam said yesterday, the real journey starts here!

8.40am - Message from Adam saying that they're on the ferry to Morocco and that he'll call later if he has signal.

I don't think there's any signal.

Tuesday night turned out to be Casablanca night, no visits to famous bars but sounds like the local method of bumper car style driving caused a few interesting moments!

Day 5 - Monday 5th February 2007 (Nr Gibraltar)

Adam says:
We´re not actually in Gibraltar, but just outside it. We visited Gibraltar today, along with Tarifa. Gibraltar is a wierd place. EVeryone speaks English, there are British coppers, british road signs and British traffic lights, yet you still drive on the wrong side of the road. Most odd. We´re off at the crack of dawn tomorrow to Tarifa to catch the ferry across to Morroco... The real adventure starts here - it has been very easy up until now, but the next few legs of the rally will get tougher and tougher. We´re considering our route through the Atlas Mountains - I´m well up for a spectacular mountain pass, but we´ll see what happens... Must go now, as someone´s waiting for the PC... Might go "off the radar" for a while, as I don´t know how far Vodafone goes into Africa...

Day 4 - Sunday 4th February 2007 (Destination Gibraltar)

As Sundays should be, day 4 is essentially a rest and repairs day.

After a bit of well deserved R&R the team covered the comparatively tiny 100ish km from Mijas and arrived in Gibraltar at about 4pm.

So safe and sound after the 'spint' leg of the journey Team Flapjack let their hair down and do a bit of 'networking' with the other teams they'll be travelling the rest of the way with :-)

This of course is nothing compared to the 'down to the wire' game of Uno I played with my parents this afternoon... lads you don't know what you're missing!

Day 3 - Saturday 3rd February 2007 (Spain)

So yesterday was France, today's Spain.

2.20pm - Message from Adam saying they had 1100km to go before stopping for the night after some minor alterations to the wheel arches with an angle grinder.

3.15pm - Message from Adam saying Team Flapjack was crossing the border to Spain.

So quite a distance today - that's pretty much John O'Groats to lands end in one day, hope they've got some Red Bull.

Adam says:
Hello from Bob Gordon's place in Mijas near Malaga! Yesterday we travelled 1400km - London to Edinburgh and back, then up to Birmingham. A big thank you goes to Bob Gordon for accepting visitors at 3am, offering us his hospitality, and cooking us a Full English Breakfast.

Day 2 - Friday 2nd February 2007 (France)

8.00am - Call from Adam to say they were in Dover but the ferry had been cancelled.

9.10am - Call from Adam to say they had found another ferry and were on it having a good English fry-up.

So they must be in France somewhere!

Worrying signs on the home front, I was talking to myself earlier and i've been doing much more cleaning than usual - scary. Especially only on day 2.

The team arrived at Don's aunt's at 10.30pm for the night.

Day 1 - Thursday 1st February 2007 (Destination Canterbury Dover)

Well they're off!

A pretty hectic day and a very long 'to do' list later - at about 7.30pm Adam and Leo set off to pick up the 3rd member of 'Team Flapjack' from London.

I know Don and Adam wanted to say a big thank you to all the people who have donated money to the Teenage Cancer Trust - If you still want to donate, the Team Flapjack justgiving site is still up and running throughout the trip.

Good luck boys - the adventure starts here!

The Plymouth-Banjul challenge is a trip where you have to rely on your wits, be inventive, resourceful and... kind of make it up as you go along.

So in the spirit of the thing the lads actually ended up in Dover on Day 1 (Not Basingstoke as the map shows - slight technical hitch i'm sure!) to meet up with some of the other teams they'll be travelling with.

Registered Charity No: 1062559

Team Flapjack are doing the Plymouth-Banjul Challenge in an attempt to raise £3000 for The Teenage Cancer Trust.

Each day in the UK, 6 teenagers will find out they have cancer. Young people often get a raw deal, receiving hospital treatment in inappropriate facilities alongside children or elderly people. In many cases, cancer in teens is not picked up early enough as symptoms are dismissed as just being growing pains. Because teenagers are undergoing growth spurts, their cancers grow faster than other age groups and they can be at greater risk.

Team Flapjack is Carbon Neutral for this challenge
Team Flapjack is
Carbon Neutral
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