Banger and cash as crew race across Europe
By Plymouth Herald | Monday, November 12, 2012, 05:30
ADVENTUROUS sailors have swapped their sea-worthy transport for something more road-worthy to complete a cross-Europe rally.
From left: John Parkes, Lisa Lee, Lynne Donnachie and Daniel Morris in the Alps
The team from Devonport-based HMS Somerset completed the challenge in a 'banger' to raise money for Cancer Research UK.
Whilst their warship was undergoing work following a refit in dry dock the four leading hand engineering technicians embarked on the journey of a lifetime across four countries, covering 1,500 miles in a £200 car.
Weapon engineering ratings Daniel Morris, Lisa Lee, John Parkes and Lynne Donnachie managed to complete the mammoth road trip in four days.
They were one of only ten teams to finish, coming in 3rd place with a 100-Euro prize.
Engineering challenges they were qualified to tackle included a damaged rear suspension, degraded brakes and a sheared exhaust.
The ship's Weapon Engineer Officer, Lieutenant Commander Paul Evans, joked: "When approached by four LETs I was half-expecting a mutiny.
"The well-considered proposal was delivered with such enthusiasm and the attention to detail was highly compelling.
"The spirit and camaraderie of this event epitomised the Naval ethos and leave to go ahead was approved."
The perfect car was then chosen, a 1995 1.6 Honda Civic in the classic grey Royal Navy colour.
It was christened HMS Carnage and given a Royal Naval White Ensign on the make-shift foremast.
Starting at Devonport the team drove overnight to Dover and caught an early morning ferry to Calais before an arduous 500-mile drive south through France to Annecy.
The following day, the team set off for the Alps and Chamonix and Mont Blanc and answered a landscape photo challenge, following a cold night's sleep in a pop-up tent in southern Germany.
By day four the intrepid explorers were fifth so a big effort was required to recover their position.
At the finish line, Dam Square in Amsterdam, the team took third place.
After raising £530 LET Morris said: "It was a very proud moment. I am very privileged to have been able to represent HMS Somerset and raise some money for charity."