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And we're off!

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Well if there’s one thing I’ve learnt this week it’s to never go on holiday!  In my absence I have been appointed captain of the Brethertons 99ers! (No Pressure there!)  As my first port of call as the team captain I should introduce the team who were chosen after an internal application process!

Steve ‘Stirling Moss’ Neasham – Partner
“I am taking part because I like the spirit of adventure combined with raising money for our good cause and at the same time meeting exciting new people for networking!!”

Dani ‘Demon Driver’ Green – Trainee Solicitor
“I love driving, and I would say I am definitely not a "typical woman driver" - I can certainly give a bloke a run for their money with driving, after all, I learnt from my dad!”

Alistair ‘Awesome Navigator’’ Spencer – Solicitor
Alistair promises “A good sense of humour, essential for when the car breaks down or when the map reading goes awry and we end up in a farmyard in rural France” 

Rosie ‘Rally Driver’ Gladden – Marketing Team Leader
As for me, Racing is in my blood with my Dad having been a Mini navigator back in the day and my cousin being a Renault series and F3 Europe Series champion and most recently a driver in the BTCC Series 2014/15.

The big news this week is that we needed to collect our new 99p pride and joy from Bicester. No problem we thought, it’s only 17.4 miles! However it’s been sat still for nearly two years, we’ve not actually checked there’s any petrol…and the battery is flat. Not the easiest of challenges then!

Rising to the challenge, early on a bright Thursday morning our very own Mark North headed off to Bicester with our man of the moment and official team mechanic, Tim Herbert from Herbies Car and Vehicle Repairs, and what better weather to be collecting a car with no petrol and a flat battery than a hard frost!

Mark recounts the morning just so;

“With breath held Tim turned the key in the ignition and with the mildest of coughs the engine roared into life. The cheers would have been deafening if anyone had been around to hear them and as the applause died, so did the car. Again. And again. It was clear that drastic measures were required to get us on our way.

At this point it is worth pointing out that prior to setting up his own garage, Tim’s background is as a mechanic in the motor sport industry. Who better then to have working on a highly complex, sophisticated car that cost the best part of £1? Who better to understand the most technical aspects of Japanese automation? Who better to know how to bodge something? 

After a frantic 5 minutes fiddling with the throttle cable and having used lengths of gaffer tape we were ready to roll. We leapt into our respective cars and I led the way. We successfully drove a whole 6 feet before the engine once again died. 2 minutes and a further jump start later we were ready again. 45 feet later we were back out of the cars again. I was starting to think that this could be a long journey - 51 feet down and 17 miles to go! At least we were getting closer to our destination each time.

Increasingly drastic times called for increasingly drastic measures. I can honestly say I have never seen anyone drive a car with a battery starter still connected before, but there you have it!  With the bonnet closed against the wires and the charging unit on the front seat we were a little more confident we would make it back to Banbury.

I followed Tim closely all the way back to Banbury and couldn’t help but notice the odd bulge in the back tyres, then immediately thought nothing more of it. I am sure (with my years of engineering experience) this would not be an issue. We arrived safely back at Tim’s garage where over the next two weeks he will be working his magic and turn our bargain basement beauty into a fully running, (race-winning!), machine!  And what was Tim’s view on the car I hear you ask, “it seems alright. Although the wheels feel like they’re made of eggs” – You heard it here first then, it looks like everything is going to be just fine.”

If you would like to donate to this extremely worthy cause, please visit our donations page and look out in the coming months for our updates as we near the starting line!