Sale of car to help boost funds raised through rally success
Friends were surprised by second place finish
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.”
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.