Events : London-Cape Town, day 29 – the end!

Day 28,
Cape Town, South Africa

At last! We finally see the silhouette of Table Mountain…and roll down the long drive lined with palm trees to the Table Bay Hotel – the South Atlantic a pebble throw away. We have made it.

It’s an emotional moment. Tears roll down the faces of grown men. The weeks of tension finally evaporates in the hot sun. Shrieks of joy from wives and girl friends. Sheer relief from mothers, all combined with hugs and kisses amid the froth of champagne spray. Engines are turned off for the last time.

It’s been a tense day – Africa has been throwing surprises in our tracks from the moment we arrived in Egypt. Today, rally leader Steve Blunt, after extending his three second lead into a still slender 38 second margin, ran out if petrol. The gauge was faulty. Minutes ticked by waiting for someone to save the rally leaders.

All the Peugeots lined up alongside each other, crews sat on the roofs shaking hands, camera crews snapped away, as families and loved ones who have not seen driver or navigator for a month threw their arms around grimy shirts that looked as if they have been worn for weeks. The stories and adventures unfolded in South Africa’s summer sun and the beer bottles lubricated dry throats, to improve upon the telling.

So, rocky goat tracks in Greece that followed on from dark woods in Kent and muddy tracks of the poppy fields of Northern France. Egypt’s Snake Valley, to the thousands that cheered us all the way across Ethiopia, the amazingly rocky track that is Kenya’s road to a place called Marsabit …Tanzania’s muddy jungle trails …to a country called Namibia, so vast, so open, and so empty, one driver remarked: “Does anyone live here?”

In 14 countries, touching three Continents, driving 14,000 kilometres in 26 driving-days we have, today after reaching Cape Town, experienced an event only made possible by the combined enthusiasm and encouragement of many along the way… Tonight we now gather together for one last time, and cheer those who are taking home a silver trophy. But, deep down in our hearts, we are all agreed on one thing. All those who drove into Cape Town are very special winners.

Gill said: ‘On the drive to the next test the engine noise changed and started misfiring. The general consensus is that we have burnt out a valve, but we must fight on and we continued through the next three test sections down on power but still having a ball.’

The Maestro crossed the line stuttering on three… but it made it anyway!

Quote of the competition? That’s an easy one. ‘I got a new Jeep with a big V8 and put on Baja desert racing suspension and drove it half way round the world down the full length of Africa …I’ve just been well and truly beaten by two birds in an old Maestro’ – Marc Buchanan, Jeep Wrangler. We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.


Full results at the finish

1 23 1h 26m 16 1 E Steve Blunt GB Bob Duck GB 2006 Subaru Impreza 1994
2 14 1h 26m 54 2 E Andy Actman GB Andy Elcomb GB 2010 Toyota Hilux 3000
3 45 2h 57m 11 1 D Joost Van Cauwenberge B Jacques Castelein B 1973 Porsche 911 3000
4 26 3h 42m 53 3 E David Tomlin GB Nicholas Adcock GB 2003 Land Rover Defender TD5 2495
5 33 3h 57m 49 1 B Owen Turner GB Matthew Fowle GB 2002 MG ZR 1589
6 35 4h 07m 51 1 C Alastair Caldwell GB Hayden Burvill AUS 1968 Porsche 912 2000
7 47 4h 20m 06 4 E Patrick Beckers B Egfried Depoorter B 1992 Toyota Landcruiser 80 4200
8 15 5h 11m 13 2 B Jane Edgington GB Gillian Cotton GB 1986 MG Maestro 1598
9 1 5h 26m 56 2 C Richard Atherton GB Rob Henchoz GB 1970 Volvo 144 1998
10 48 7h 18m 26 5 E Eric Claeys B Ben Deleye B 1999 Toyota 73 4200
11 18 7h 24m 45 6 E Rod Taylor GB Ian Morgan GB 2010 Toyota Hilux 2982
12 10 7h 25m 53 2 D Mark Pickering AUS Dave Boddy AUS 1970 Datsun P510 2416
13 3 8h 09m 39 7 E Arnold Meier CH Paul Waser CH 2005 Toyota Landcruiser 4000
14 19 9h 06m 46 8 E Stuart Rhys-Williams GB Colin McConnell GB 1994 Nissan Patrol 4169
15 41 11h 31m 10 3 C Guy Chriqui F Philippe Thiolat F 1972 Peugeot 504 1971
16 2 11h 40m 54 9 E Robert Belcher GB Stephen Cooper GB 2002 BMW X5 4600
17 5 11h 54m 53 3 D Greg Newton AUS Sam Newton AUS 1980 Holden Commodore 3300
18 37 13h 23m 00 4 C John Bayliss GB Paul Carter GB 1971 Volvo 144 DL 1998
19 36 13h 23m 09 5 C Pierre-Yves Maisonneuve F Henri Minard F 1986 Peugeot 505 1971
20 8 13h 46m 56 6 C David Spurling GB Nigel Gray GB 1979 Peugeot 504 1971
21 28 14h 21m 40 4 D Grant Tromans GB Simon Russell GB 1973 Datsun 240Z 2393
22 46 14h 45m 52 10 E Rene Declercq B Francis Tuthill GB 2010 Toyota Hilux 3000
23 42 15h 06m 49 7 C Jean-Louis Juchault F Thibault de Wazieres F 1973 Peugeot 504 1900
24 16 16h 27m 04 11 E Balz Hertli CH Luciano Rauseo CH 2011 Jeep Wrangler 3778
25 30 16h 30m 57 12 E Marc Buchanan USA Charles Green USA 2011 Jeep Wrangler 3778
26 25 17h 51m 05 13 E Lloyd Reddington CAN Treacy Reddington CAN 1990 Toyota 4 Runner 2959
27 21 19h 18m 31 3 B Paul Unwin GB Diane Unwin GB 2003 MG ZR 1588
28 24 19h 44m 27 4 B Rachel Vestey AUS Suzy Harvey GB 2005 MG ZR 1600
29 7 1d 1h 19m 46 8 C Ben Dawson GB Mike Dawson GB 1975 Ford Escort Mk2 1600
30 39 1d 3h 25m 35 1 A Tim Wheatley GB Dominic Manser GB 2007 MG ZR 1400
31 40 1d 3h 48m 06 5 D Ralf Weiss D Kurt Schneiders D 1980 Mercedes Benz 230E 2276
32 11 1d 9h 38m 29 6 D James Stephenson AUS Max Stephenson AUS 1923 Vauxhall OD 2360 4200
33 31 1d 12h 17m 42 9 C Patrick Sommer D Christine Sommer B 1966 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia 1995
34 20 1d 15h 17m 47 7 D Owain Lloyd GB Peter Scott GB 1978 Mercedes 280 Coupe 2746
35 17 1d 18h 05m 48 8 D Renger Guliker NL Pim ‘t Hart NL 1985 BMW M535I 3406
36 4 1d 18h 54m 30 10 C Jean-Pierre Demierre CH Mireille Demierre CH 1977 Peugeot 504 1970
37 27 1d 19h 28m 57 9 D Jeff Robinson AUS Sam Robinson AUS 1978 Mercedes 280E 2800
38 43 1d 20h 52m 11 2 A Mark Munne NL Ben Munne NL 1989 Peugeot 205 Rallye 1294
39 34 2d 1h 00m 55 11 C Martin Aaldering NL Josephina Freriks Aaldering NL 1964 Volvo PV544C 1778
40 44 2d 5h 40m 14 12 C Dave Gough GB Richard Phillipson GB 1972 Peugeot 504 1971
41 38 2d 23h 11m 03 10 D Alex Thistlethwayte GB David Hiscox GB 1972 Datsun 240Z 2400

Keith Adams


  1. Well done girls, but thumbs up to the other 40 finishers too… one day, one day I will do an endure event – who wants to buy two teenage daughters in VGC? Buy both and I will throw in a wife for FREE!!!

  2. All the cars in the results list have reputations for off-road ability or reliability or ruggedness (or all three) apart from the MGs. Great results for all of the MGs, but the Maestro – a car one would think not posessed of off-road ability or reliability or ruggedness – finishing 8th is a fantastic achievement. Well done, girls!

    Now just imagine the publicity if those MG ZRs had been MG6s….

  3. A truly astounding feat for the humble Maestro and distinctly un-sporting S Series engine…perhaps more Mayfair than mile-muncher!

    This just shows what can be done with such attention to detail and precision during the preparation and build, and two superb drivers.

  4. Nice job – eighth place too! I’ve enjoyed reading about your exploits, well done. Plus the Maestro did you proud, which is heartwarming.

  5. Girls, hats off to you both. I do rallies across Oz, know how gruelling they are, and the effort involved. Champions, all there of you:) – and yes, I included the Maestro. If you’re half as attached to him as my Rally SD1, I bet you never sell him on:)
    Top effort and congrats.

  6. Good run, and given my experience of Maestros great that it got there in one piece. Congrats

    Even the thought of doing a rally in an SD1 brings me out in goosebumps, would be like trying to park the Bismarck in Stanway Sainsbury’s car park..


    @ Chris: expect Clarksons’ obituary shortly…

  7. Brilliant stuff, ladies! I hope you and the Maestro are having a well earned rest (and valve job for the Maestro – she probably burnt the valve just to show those bigger engined cars what she still had in the tank 😉 ).

    In fact, interesting to note that all the small engined MGs topped a lottttt of big muscle…

    And Ajax and Richard G – the S series was a tweaked E series Maxi engine, and recall the Maxi put up some sterling rally efforts in its day. Plus the Maestro is a very rugged car – only hydragas would have toughened it 😉 (actually, if the ZR’s had hydragas, there wouldn’t have been any blown dampers – just saying 🙂 ).

    Well done again ladies – a credit to BL heritage!

  8. Well done ladies the three of you did the UK proud!! Have to say well done to the ZR crew that came 5th! Excellent acheivement especially looking at the cars in the list!

  9. Excellent Drive – what an adventure! You showed a lot of more powerful vehicles how to do it with skill and reliability.
    We were all rooting for you and you did us proud!!

  10. “I got a new Jeep with a big V8 and put on Baja desert racing suspension and drove it half way round the world down the full length of Africa …I’ve just been well and truly beaten by two birds in an old Maestro” – Marc Buchanan, Jeep Wrangler

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