Sale of car to help boost funds raised through rally suc­cess

Friends were sur­prised by sec­ond place fin­ish

Aldershot News & Mail - - COMMUNITY NEWS -

TWO friends who drove across Europe dressed as car­toon char­ac­ters now plan to sell their eye-catch­ing car to boost the cash they have raised for char­ity.

So­nia Gra­ham, from Farn­bor­ough, and Keith Travers, from Basingstoke, com­peted in the Monte Carlo or Bust rally – a three-day chal­lenge that in­volves com­peti­tors driv­ing 667 miles from Saint-Quentin in France to Monaco, on the Mediter­ranean coast, in a car cost­ing no more than £250.

The friends ar­rived in their K-reg Toy­ota Carolla on July 20 to find they had fin­ished sec­ond in the chal­lenge and were pre­sented with a tro­phy and 100 Eu­ros.

This suc­cess was matched by them ex­ceed­ing their fundrais­ing tar­get to raise just over £1,000 in do­na­tions for Naomi House in Basingstoke, which of­fers respite to sick chil­dren and their fam­i­lies.

The rally in­volves teams driv­ing across Europe to­wards their des­ti­na­tion but, rather than be­ing a race, suc­cess is mea­sured on how many of the mini tasks they com­plete along the way.

The pair, named The Crazy Nuts, searched churches for owls and bought post­cards at spe­cific stops to tick tasks off the list.

Asked what her favourite part of the rally was, So­nia, who works at Eden Ve­ran­das in South­wood Busi­ness Park, said: “All of it to be hon­est. I loved it so much, see­ing four coun­tries in a short space of time. It was awe­some.

“I’d never been to Italy or Switzer­land be­fore and I went to both of those. But the ab­so­lute high­light was com­ing sec­ond. We never thought we would fin­ish run­ner up out of 80 teams at all.”

So­nia said another mem­o­rable mo­ment was when she and Keith, a self-em­ployed es­tate agent, went to the Mu­seum of the Au­to­mo­bile in Turin dressed as Dick Das­tardly and Pene­lope Pit­stop from Wacky Races, and were mis­taken for a tourist at­trac­tion.

“We ended up hav­ing 30 or 40 pho­tos taken with peo­ple,” she said. Not con­tent sim­ply with com­plet­ing the route one way, So­nia and Keith drove the car the 1,000 miles back home and the next step is to auc­tion it off to add to the cash to be do­nated to Naomi House. The car was dec­o­rated by a pro­fes­sional graf­fiti artist at Idle Cans in Basingstoke and So­nia said that driv­ing it be­fore the rally was an ex­pe­ri­ence.

“We had to buy, tax and MOT it for less than £250 but we had a re­sult as it drives lovely,” she said. “I have two chil­dren and they loved the school run. We got looks but they were fun looks, not disapproving ones. Every­one laughs and smiles, the kids es­pe­cially.”

CHRIS WHI­TEOAK AN144257_04

So­nia Gra­ham and Keith Travers in their K-reg Toy­ota Carolla which com­pleted the Monte Carlo or Bust Rally and raised money for Naomi House in Basingstoke.

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