A FOUR-DAY cross-country rally through France raised more than £80,000 for an Oxfordshire charity thanks to the efforts of keen petrolheads.
The Twin Town Challenge attracted 50 teams for the 1,000-mile jaunt from Witney to its twin town of Le Touquet, near Calais.
They took in race tracks Brands Hatch, Kent and Le Mans and Criox-en-Ternois in France during the Friday to Monday challenge.
Vehicles had to cost less than £500 and the event is expected to have raised at least £80,000 for Charlbury disability charity SpecialEffect through corporate sponsorship and entry fees.
They also faced 12 challenges like car manoeuvre courses, Aunt Sally tournaments, scavenger hunts and laps around race circuits.
John Haw, from Ramsbury, Wiltshire, spent the weekend dressed as Nintendo video game icon Super Mario with ex-Oxford United player Matthew Bound, now of Swansea, as sidekick Luigi in a red BMW.
Mr Haw said: “It has been a brilliant and completely bonkers rally, people have been stopping us to ask for our photograph. At the racetrack we ragged our car pretty hard but it was amazing, I’ve decided to keep it because I love it so much.”
Deputy mayor of Le Touquet Bernard Baudoux welcomed the drivers at a civic ceremony on Friday.
And the weekend closed on Sunday night with a performance from visiting Stonesfield band The Village Idiots and a fundraising auction.
Lots included a day out behind the scenes at a Formula 1 race and a meal cooked by celebrity chef Antony Worrall Thompson.
It will be further boosted when teams auction their cars at West Oxfordshire Motor Auctions, Bromag Industrial Estate, Witney, on Thursday evening.
Chief organiser Brendan Cross said: “It has been fantastic on so many fronts.
“We have had a great time at the race tracks and relationships have been formed, but most importantly the generosity of everybody who took part has really shown.
“I am being asked to do it again next year already, and there is talk of taking 100 Minis down to Le Touquet, but I think I need a rest first.”
SpecialEffect founder and chief executive Dr Mick Donegan said cash generated would give the charity an opportunity to meet a rising demand for the services it provides. He said: “We will use the money to buy more equipment and employ more staff.
“Demand for what we do is going up all the time and we have been stretched recently.
“But this will allow us to keep creating those magic moments for people every day.”
- Our top stories:
1:20pm Sunday 1st March 2015
A MAN brandishing a broken bottle robbed a bookmakers in Bicester yesterday.
11:55am Sunday 1st March 2015
Police seized this £200,000 Ferrari 458 on the M40 in Oxfordshire this morning.
2:33pm Saturday 28th February 2015
A pedestrian is fighting for their life in hospital after being in a collision with a car near Banbury this morning.
1:29pm Saturday 28th February 2015
FAMILY and friends of a murdered teenager have planted flowers at her memorial garden today.
9:00am Saturday 28th February 2015
AS 1,000 lifesavers have now been trained across Oxfordshire, the campaign to install more than 300 defibrillators is set to hit its target next month.
8:30am Saturday 28th February 2015
A GOOD Samaritan who said she was conned out of £70 by a highway fraudster is warning others about being caught in his trap.
8:00am Saturday 28th February 2015
BICESTER is set for television stardom as the man behind Channel 4’s Grand Designs heads is headed to Graven Hill.
7:00am Saturday 28th February 2015
A HANDYMAN has spent the last three months fitting boilers not for the home, but for the catwalk.
6:30am Saturday 28th February 2015
THE Government has lost track of where 30 per cent of state school and college students in Oxfordshire are going when they leave, new data has revealed.
6:00am Saturday 28th February 2015
DISCUSSIONS are now under way to come up with fresh ideas for the future of Botley’s West Way shopping centre.
1:38pm Friday 27th February 2015
ONE lane of the M40 southbound has closed after an accident.
11:00am Friday 27th February 2015
GARY Waddock says he feels no bitterness towards Oxford United as he prepares to face the club for the first time since being sacked last summer.
11:57am Friday 27th February 2015
Gary Glitter has been jailed for 16 years for a string of historic sex attacks on three schoolgirls.
9:00am Friday 27th February 2015
THE decision to axe the top job at Oxfordshire County Council will be reviewed after its leader admitted he rushed it through.