Rally proves a step too far for European adventurers

MAKING THE BEST OF IT: From left, James Pitcher, Jonathan Moore and his son Adam with their ambulance.
MAKING THE BEST OF IT: From left, James Pitcher, Jonathan Moore and his son Adam with their ambulance.
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When three members of Hadleigh Sea Scouts set off to take part in the Dakar Rally, they never envisaged braving temperatures of -10°C.

“All we had were shorts and T-shirts and we just had to make the best of a bad situation,” said Scout leader James Pitcher.

The trio – consisting of James, 31, Scout group chairman Jonathan Moore and his son Adam – were not ill-prepared, they just never reached their intended destination of Peru.

Instead, they ended up travelling 4,000 miles across eastern Europe after the old ambulance they had chosen for their adventure got turned away at the Moroccan border, on the way to the famous off-road race earlier this month.

“Because we had an emergency vehicle, we weren’t allowed to enter,” said Jonathan, from Newton Road, Sudbury.

“We tried painting the ambulance all white in a car park, but they still deported us, so we cut our losses.”

After a night in customs, they made new plans and journeyed through Slovakia, Hungary and Romania before arriving home on Thursday.

“It was not what we expected but it was great to go exploring,” said Adam, 18.

Not to be deterred, the trio are looking to compete in the rally next year and are selling their ambulance to raise money for Little Trees – a Scout troop in Gambia.

Anyone interested in buying the ambulance should contact Jonathan on 07545 545744.