n 14 January 2016, Paul Hanson and George Coleman set off from London in an attempt to break the world record for driving from London to Cape Town. The duo needed to complete the expedition in less than 10 days, three hours and 16 minutes. They planned on taking a brand-new route through West Africa, as previous record holders all went down the eastern side. The entire trip was set to raise money for two charities, one being the British Red Cross and the other for the Protrack Anti-Poaching Unit in South Africa. The public was able to follow their progress through Europe and Africa thanks to real-time tracking. The idea was to raise funds for charity, so they needed a crazy expedition that would get people to sit up and notice, and Paul immediately suggested driving from London to Cape Town – an incredible 15 000km – in under 10 days. “We had seen previous record holder attempts, and we thought we would have a shot at beating that, via the notorious West Africa. In life, you need to take risks and challenge yourself. This was the perfect opportunity to do something completely insane or almost impossible,” says Paul.
The undoing of the Disco With a limited budget, Paul and George bought a Discovery 2 Td5. They found one that was decently kitted out and at a great price. Once they had the Landy, they went to work to get the car running perfectly. This included a full service, change of oil and new exhaust. However, this was just the beginning. A full single bed with an extension was welded and built into the back, which allowed one driver to sleep while the other drives. Other modifications included adding a 200-litre fuel tank with an electric pump, a turbo, an oversized compressor and upgraded thrust bearing kit, full remap, suspension lift, complete front hubs, fan belts and tensioners, brakes, bushes, two LED light bars, diagnostics and an upgrade of the intercooler and radiator. “The first car I ever drove was the Land Rover Series III with a R6 engine. It has been in our family for years, and we still use it in the bush. We chose the Discovery 2 because its Td5 engine was legendary. It was also Paul Hanson (right) and George Coleman (left) still looking fresh and clean before their journey. about a third of the price of a Defender. Unfortunately, this particular Disco has been operating in the UK since 1999, and the salt roads here ended up destroying the undercarriage, and the chassis gave way first,” explains Paul. The first breakdown the duo experienced was just off the ferry into Morocco, when a viscus fan put a hole in one of the radiator pipes. A few bush repairs (a piece of metal piping and two clips) and a few sprays of Miracle Seal later, they continued the journey, leak-free. But then came the death of the chassis. “We hit Senegal in record time. However, the roads got the better of us. Huge speed bumps, which sprung up with no warning at all, and nearly 500km of poor dirt roads took its toll on our fully-loaded Landy. The right rear part of the chassis broke, and the shock absorber completely tore off the chassis, with a part of the chassis still attached!” Paul and George managed to limp the Landy to a local township with a makeshift block of wood wedged between the broken chassis and diff. Here they found the first welder. They managed to fix it temporarily, and