World-first Aston Martin-driving Brits enter challenging territory
The Driving Home Road Safety 2007 trip, which was in the planning for two years, is bringing attention to road safety and raising money to increase road safety awareness among children in developing countries.
Richard, of Newport Pagnell, Bucks, and Londoner Phil have already safely crossed Japan, South Korea and China, encountering unexpected rough road diversions, road signs that are difficult to understand, big city centre traffic jams, and temperatures of more than 40degC.
Today (Wednesday) they drove into Almaty, in Kazakhstan, at the start of the Eurasian leg of what is potentially the most testing and unpredictable part of their marathon drive.
Ahead of them lie what are popularly known as the ‘Stans’ – Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, back into Kazakhstan, and Azerbaijan.
This two-week section will see the pair facing unknown dangers, such as difficult road conditions, uncertain weather, and unpredictable local and official reaction to them and their car.
“We have planned everything as far as possible, but it is obviously impossible to plan for the unknown,” said Richard, a 58-year-old teacher. “It is perhaps the most unnerving but most exciting part of the trip.”
Their near-standard V8 Vantage, which was loaned and prepared by Aston Martin, has to date performed ‘impeccably’, said Richard. “We have so far driven more than 4,000 miles in not much over three weeks, and except for a bit of ‘throat-clearing’ – due to petrol of dubious quality – it has not missed a beat.”
Richard and Phil’s trip, which has attracted the support of the United Nations and a variety of international companies, is scheduled to end in Trafalgar Square on August 13.