Proper Bikes Paul Brace drove into the world record books on February 11th 2013 with rally organiser, Philip Young.
They drove a two cylinder, 875cc Fiat Panda non-stop from Cape Town to London in just 10 days and 13 hours and took over a day from the previous record set in 2010 by three adventurers in a Land Rover Discovery. The epic drive required motoring over 1000 miles per day and the only time the wheels stopped were for borders, fuel and water crossings.
History was made along the way after they persuaded Egyptian and Sudanese governments to allow them special passage via a proposed new land border. It avoided the regular two day crossing of Lake Nasser on a ramshackle barge which is the only option normally open to overlanders. They also used persuasion to gain special permission to enter Libya which closed its borders to all foreigners just a week before the start due to military unrest.
The little Fiat Eco city car had minimal preparation and was left in near standard specification. It is clearly not designed for the arduos conditions found in Africa and they it had to negotiate a particular length of road in northern Kenyan that has a reputation for breaking even Toyota Land Cruisers and Land Rovers. Worse still, this road skirts Somalia and shootings and piracy by bandits are common place. The road is closed at night but unfortunately Paul and Philip arrived at dusk and had to bribe their way onto the track to proceed and keep the record within reach. The 350km stretch of rocks, ruts and soft sand where conducted in complete darkness and it was a great relief when they finally arrived at the Ethiopian border as dawn broke.
Giving a good sense of purpose to the entire epic challenge was the raising of over £16,000 for Farm Africa which helps the African farmers to help themselves.
The full story and daily photo updates can be seen here.