200 charity rally cars to set off for twin town in France

Witney Gazette: Gavin Hyatt, back left, Alastair Robinson, back right, and, front from left, Chris Keating, Nick Streeter and Brendon Cross Buy this photo » Gavin Hyatt, back left, Alastair Robinson, back right, and, front from left, Chris Keating, Nick Streeter and Brendon Cross

MORE than 200 people are revving up to take part in a Top Gear-style driving extravaganza linking Witney with its twin town in France.

Teams will drive their own cars between the twin towns of Witney and Le Touquet in France.

The Anglo-French driving challenge will also take on the race circuits of Brands Hatch, Le Mans and Croix En Ternois.

But it is not just a Cannonball Run-style frenzied free-for-all as the event will raise significant funds for charity.

Donations will go to Oxfordshire charity SpecialEffect, which helps people with disabilities benefit from the fun, rehabilitation and therapy of video games.

The event has been organised by Brendon Cross, Oxfordshire Businessman of the Year for 2012, who said there had been a great amount of interest.

He said: “There has been a huge demand. We’ve upped the number of places for cars to 80 after well over 100 expressions of interest.

“It’s much more than a long drive to experience racing circuits.

“It’s a points-based challenge rather than a race. We’ll be keeping the teams on their toes with plenty of outlandish non-motoring challenges during the four days.

“The emphasis is firmly on fun, so I will also give extra points for fancy dress and decorated cars.

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“It’s also great to be able to raise the profile of the Witney and Le Touquet twinning and I’m sure both towns will benefit from the publicity the event will generate.”

Entry fee for the event is £995 per team, which should consist of a maximum of four people per car.

Charity fundraiser Nick Streeter said: “It’s the biggest event in the history of the charity.

“It’s absolutely unique and it’s really great that people are getting behind the charity and having a lot of fun.”

Chief executive of the charity, Mick Donegan, said: “The aim of our charity is to help people with even the most severe disabilities to have fun, so it’s fantastic when supporters can be promised a great time raising money for us in return.

“We’re entirely dependent on donations to carry on our work, so challenges like this are our lifeblood.”

All vehicles must be roadworthy and legal in the UK and France.

Sat navs are allowed but extra points will go to teams using traditional maps and road signs.

Participants will be asked to show a receipt to show their vehicle cost no more than £500.

A so-called bus of shame will follow the party and rescue any cars that break down along the way.

The Twin Town Challenge will run from May 23 to 26 next year.

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