A GRANDFATHER has survived floods, an earthquake and a Taliban attack to drive his 1977 MG Midget around the world to win a bet with his neighbour.

Roy Locock, 62, from Chinnor, arrived at the MG Car Club’s Abingdon headquarters after completing his challenge 16 months, 27 countries, and 39,000 miles after setting off.

Now his trusty Abingdon-built MG Midget – affectionally known as Bridget, which has needed major work throughout the trip, will be retired from the road.

The retired radio engineer decided to attempt the challenge when his neighbour Alan Lines said the feat was impossible.

Within 12 weeks, Mr Locock set off to prove him wrong. That was in June last year.

He said: “It has been an absolutely amazing experience. I had two sports bags in the passenger seat with all my clothes in, and that was it. The boot was filled with spare parts.

“One of the first things I have to do is see my two grandchildren. The youngest one, Matilda, doesn’t really know me. She was only six months old when I left.

“I just love travelling, and I will miss that, but it’s good to be back to see friends and family.”

He completed the drive despite being caught up in an earthquake in Panama and a Taliban attack in Quetta, Pakistan.

He said: “I woke up one morning and the hotel was shaking.

“There was mortar fire outside, followed by small arms fire.

“The Taliban were firing on the army garrison next door.

“But the only time I was really concerned for my safety was in the Northern Territories in Australia, when it suffered the worst floods in 30 years.

“Over here, really bad floods are 6ft deep, but over there, they are 66ft. I was held up in Queensland for four weeks.”

He added: “Bridget was absolutely amazing.

“If you gave me an hour to give her a polish, she really does still look very smart.”

Mr Locock hopes to publish a book about his adventure, but not before planning a new trip – to drive the length of Africa.

Mr Lines, who was at the MG Car Club to greet him, said: “It’s a fantastic achievement, and I’m delighted to be proven wrong.

“To be honest, I thought he’d get half way round the world and give up.”

For more details of the adventure, see the Bridget the midget website.