Rollin’ like Jurassic Park and Ghostbusters – Ashwell Banger Challenge 2017 to raise thousands for children’s charity Barnardo’s

One of the 2017 Ashwell Bangers cars - a Vauxhall Frontera done up like one of the Jurassic Park cars. Photo: Mark Allen

One of the 2017 Ashwell Bangers cars - a Vauxhall Frontera done up like one of the Jurassic Park cars. Photo: Mark Allen


A group of pals from Ashwell are to take a set of pimped-out banger cars on a series of Top Gear-style challenges in aid of children’s charity Barnardo’s – starting with a tour of the village this Friday.

The Ashwell Banger Challenge will see 14 teams embark on a weekend of trials, each using a car bought for less than £350 and modified to look suitably silly – including a Vauxhall Frontera decorated like the Jurassic Park cars, and a former police Volvo T5 done up like the Ghostbusters’ Ecto-1 vehicle.

This year’s weekend-long contest comes three years after the inaugural Ashwell Banger Challenge, which raised more than £5,000 for children’s cancer charity CLIC Sargent.

Organiser Mark Allen explained: “We’re a group of Ashwell chaps, a lot of whom now work away from the area and don’t see each other very often.

“We came up with the idea of a Top Gear-style event in 2014. Now, three years later, it’s back and formed up of about 60 challenges.

“The weekend is going to be full on. The challenges include things like making an advert for your car for Youtube – because the cars are sold on afterwards at a black-tie event – and having the car photographed with a certain thing, like a dentist or a lion.

“Generally the public are very helpful with the challenges.

“The idea is to get money from backers and sponsorship. Some of the teams have raised more than £600 or £700 already.”

The teams covered more than 500 miles in 2014, with challenges ranging from finding strange objects to racing at Santa Pod Raceway, near Northampton.

The bangers will embark on a ‘village cruise’ at 6.30pm on Friday, with the teams and cars touring the streets until arriving at the Three Tuns pub at 7pm – with a brief judging ceremony before they are sent on their way.

Two days later there will be a return party at the Bushel & Strike pub in Ashwell, starting at 4pm on Sunday.

Cars in the banger challenge two years ago included a Volvo V40 converted into a mobile pub, complete with pumps and a sign dubbing it The Broke ‘n’ Down.

Other themes that year included the Dukes of Hazzard and the Blues Brothers.

If you’d like to find out more or donate to the teams’ fundraising, see

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