Rally driving duo reach Stevenage twin town in charity bid

TWO housemates who are driving more than 10,000 miles to raise money for charity have reached Stevenage s twin town – Shimkent in Kazakhstan. David Pipe and Craig Bellars, of Blenheim Way in Stevenage, are taking part in the Mongol Rally in a bid to raise

TWO housemates who are driving more than 10,000 miles to raise money for charity have reached Stevenage's twin town - Shimkent in Kazakhstan.

David Pipe and Craig Bellars, of Blenheim Way in Stevenage, are taking part in the Mongol Rally in a bid to raise �2,000 for Mercy Corps Mongolia.

The journey for the 300 teams taking part started at Goodwood on July 18, and all are heading for the finish line in Mongolia's capital, Ulaanbaatar.

In their nine-year-old Nissan Micra, David and Craig have driven more than 6,000 miles so far, through countries including Turkey, Georgia, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan.


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"The terrain has become much more difficult now," said Craig. "In Turkmenistan, we drove through the desert. The heat was absolutely blistering and the car was a little prone to overheating.

"We also had our first shunt in Ashgabat, the capital of Turkmenistan. A local ran into the back of us at a red light, but luckily they only did some minor damage to our rear bumper."

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The pair then drove across Uzbekistan, and travelled through Tajikistan on the Pamir Highway - the second highest altitude international highway in the world, with some stretches more than 4,500 metres above sea level.

"It was a breathtaking experience, with spectacular views," said Craig.

"We ran into several teams and nearly all had picked up problems on the really tough roads over the mountains, ranging from damaged suspension to AWOL exhausts!" Craig and David's car overheated on the steeper inclines and also suffered a puncture.

They continued into Kyrgyzstan, and then on to Shimkent, with the next stop Russia.

Craig said: "In general the car is still running very well, although the engine warning light has been on for about 500 miles now and we have no idea why!"

To sponsor the pair, visit www.justgiving.com/teamknightmicra

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