Brave Brits Richard Meredith and Phil Colley have defied oppressive heat, challenging bureaucracy, unsurfaced roads, unpredictable and antiquated ferries and petrol supply problems as they home-in on a 16,000km world-first in their factory-prepared Aston Martin V8 Vantage.
Richard and Phil left Tokyo on June 25 in a bid to become the first people to traverse the full extent of the new Asian Highway road network. They are scheduled to arrive at the InterContinental Park Lane, London, on Tuesday 14th August to a home-coming reception and press conference at 11am.
The drive, which is in aid of children’s road safety charities in developing countries, has to date seen them travel through Japan, South Korea, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan and Georgia, before arriving in Istanbul on August 5.
Astonishingly, after more than 11,000 kilometres and some of the most challenging and unpredictable driving conditions in the world, they are right on schedule as they enter the final leg of the trip.
Richard, a 58-year-old teacher, and 42-year-old travel specialist Phil, leave Istanbul on August 6, and are scheduled to arrive in London on August 14 via Bulgaria, Hungary, Austria, Germany, Belgium and France.
“Now we are in Istanbul we feel we are on the homeward stretch,” said Richard, who started planning the trip nearly two years ago and found in Aston Martin a partner confident and enthusiastic enough to take on the challenge with him.
“It has been a long haul which has been both mentally and physically draining, but at the same time incredibly rewarding. Road traffic injuries amongst children is a global issue, but one particularly acute in developing countries, and I am delighted how much support we have received since leaving Tokyo.”Aston Martin’s Chief Executive Officer, Dr Ulrich Bez, commented:
“I have been following their progress closely and I have great admiration for Richard and Phil’s determination. Of course I am also delighted with the reliability of the V8 Vantage, which had already done 100,000 miles when it started this trip.”
The drive, titled Driving Home Road Safety 2007, has the support of the United Nations, UNICEF, and the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) Foundation.
It is promoting the global Make Roads Safe and Road Safety is No Accident campaigns, which urge the world’s biggest organisations and national authorities to give higher priority to tackling death and injury on the roads.
The Driving Home Road Safety 2007 project can be tracked through a dedicated micro-site available at www.astonmartinasiahighway.com - The site updates the position of the car, provides images and a regular diary.
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