Plans Set For The Alternative Italian Job

Cannonball 8000


Three intrepid drivers and former school friends are set for a whirlwind weekend over September 16/17/18, 2005, when they enter a trio of Mini's and a support helicopter in the London to Rome Cannonball 8000 - an epic, 1250-mile driving event that visits five countries in three days.

The patriotic Mini's - one painted red, one white and one blue, in deference to that famous movie, The Italian Job - have been recreated for the event using authentic-style accessories. A Robinson R44 helicopter will provide back up for the crew as well as serving as a camera platform for recording the event.

Former school chums and team members Mark Oliver, Gary Short and Saad Audeh hatched the plan back in July. "We wanted to take part in something special to celebrate our 40th Birthdays," says Mark, "and as we are all keen drivers, the Cannonball 8000 really grabbed our interest. When we heard that the city of Rome was to be the final destination for the event, there was no other choice as far as we were concerned - it had to be Mini's, and we would re-live the Italian Job!"

To get to Italy, teams will drive through the rolling countryside of Belgium, transit Germany and its legendary autobahns, and cross the spectacular Austrian Alps.

The event, which is most definitely not for the faint-hearted or weak-willed, is not so much a race as an endurance event with style. Five-star hospitality and accommodation are de rigueur, and the event concludes with a champagne reception and a Grand Ball in Rome.

To date, one hundred and twenty teams have entered the Cannonball 8000 - the pre-set limit for the event. As interest remains high, however, organiser Conrad Wall has decided to keep the entry open a little longer. Teams from as far afield as New Zealand, the USA and Austria have already entered. As in previous years, the event attracts a wide variety of vehicles, from mouth-watering exotics to the novel and inexpensive.

More information about the Cannonball 8000 can be obtained by visiting

6 September 2005 Staff

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