With the GSF Car Parts Bangers4Ben team safely back from their travels around Ireland, the company got the lowdown on what they got up to.
Regional managers Ollie Edwards and Alex Mitchell, Worcester branch manager James Pownall and Solihull branch manager James Boyle spent the best part of the week crammed into a car not really designed for four fully grown men – and faced a tough challenge from the very beginning.
With just £750 to spend on a car that will get them from start to finish, reliability was high on the list of concerns. With their Volkswagen Beetle, nicknamed ‘Herbie’, kitted out and looking the part though, here’s what they had to say:
Ollie: “We all got on great and had a brilliant time. We were often in convoy or seeing plenty of other participants throughout each day and it was always really good fun.”
James Pownall: “We were generally driving for at least 200 miles a day and surprisingly, it wasn’t too bad at all in ‘Herbie’. We could pick our own routes and explore wherever we wanted. Ben send a text each morning with the destination and a number of waypoints we have to hit but there was no real competition to things, just good fun. Although having the roof down in the cold Irish mornings wasn’t so enjoyable.”
Ollie: “I think the driving situation is best described as intimate, there really wasn’t a lot of space. All jokes aside, I think there was no better car to do it in, it was just funny.”
Alex Mitchell: “It was such a beautiful place and always worth making detours to explore further. I think the highlight for all of us has got to be the Gap of Dunloe. It was truly phenomenal, the scenery was absolutely incredible and we’d never have been there without Bangers4Ben. It was an added detour too and took us a long time but well worth it.”
James Boyle: “Throughout the trip our car had great camaraderie. Herbie really surprised us on the reliability front and didn’t have any major problems at all beyond a few spark plugs.
“We were always happy to help people out though if anyone was stuck at the side of the road, pushing a Ford Transit Tipper decked out like a wrestling ring was a bit of a challenge mind you. We were just pleased to complete the whole thing without ever needing the AA.”
The charity Ben had its own tricks to keep things interesting, two of which kept the boys on their toes throughout the trip.
Ollie: “Convertibles all had to follow one set rule: roof up meant a £50 fine. They doubled this up with a Garfield toy which will cost you another £50 if it’s found in your vehicle by the end of the day.
“Obviously, no one wants to have Garfield so he’ll appear in gloveboxes and back seats at any moment in time. Of course, having a convertible made us any easy target so we had to be on constant guard as it’s roofs down at all times! It’s all for a good cause though so we’re happy to play the game at the end of the day.”
Alex Mitchell: “All in all, it was a fantastic experience for a really worthy cause. We met some great people and saw some incredible designs, all the cars looked brilliant. Now it’s over to the auction to see how much money we can raise for ours.”
GSF Car Parts’s fundraising page has hit £6,311 – far exceeding the £4,500. Click here if you’d like to make a donation.