Japan-easy does it as Chatteris drivers tackle intrepid 12,500 miles from the Fens to Tokyo in a Toyota
Two men, one Toyota Yaris and 12,500 miles add up to one incredible journey for a pair of garage workers from Chatteris.
It’s been a year in the making but Dan Handley and Dave Brooks are now revving to hit the road on a mammoth nine-week trip to Tokyo, raising cash along the way for the BBC’s Children in Need.
Dan, 30, and Dave, 36, who both work at Fensport Performance, the Toyota specialist in Chatteris, are set to embark on the epic car share later this summer.
They will be taking in 20 countries between their home town and the Japanese capital and they aim to do it all in a 2001 souped-up Yaris bought off Gumtree for just £1,100.
Dan said: “It started off as a bit of a pipe dream. Our boss, Adrian Smith, took us to Tokyo a few years ago and we were talking about how we would like to go there again, but this time to drive it rather than fly.
“The next thing we are planning this journey, which has taken us over a year to sort out. Originally we planned to do it in five to six weeks but the boss said that was too much and suggested we take nine weeks to complete it - who were we to argue? It means we will have a chance to explore along the way.
“I have never travelled much before so this is going to be a real adventure. Both Dave and I are single and we thought if we don’t do it now, we probably never will.
“We have had to sort out nine visas and plan our route taking into account the possibility that places like Iran might not let us through.
“It is costing around £16,000 for the car, the fuel, the visas, food and other costs and we have managed to raise that ourselves and also through sponsorship, which means now every penny we get donated will go to Children in Need.
“We have grown up watching Children in Need night and so it was easy to choose it as our charity when we were looking for a good cause to support.”
The route will take the pair and the car, which Dan says “has quite high mileage”, through countries such as France, Austria, Switzerland and Bulgaria and others whose names turn up as quiz show answers – Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Tajikistan – through Mongolia, Russia, South Korea and Tokyo.
They hope they will be allowed into Iran, but Dan says “we have a plan B just in case - they are not too keen on the British and we will have to have an escort if they actually allow us in”.
The pair are due to embark from Fensport Performance in Dock Road on August 12, waved off with a farewell party from friends and family.
Before then they will give the car a short run through Chatteris when they join the town’s summer festival parade on Saturday June 30.
People will be able to have a good look round the car, make a donation and wish them well on their incredible trip.
“We are almost ready, we have a couple more visas to sort out, but other than that we are good to go. We have not really planned where we will be staying so we are taking tents with us – but most of the time we will just wing it and see what comes up.
“We have an on-board Slingshot 6 which means we will have 4G wi-fi so we will be able to keep everyone updated with a blog and there will also be a tracker fitted so people can follow our progress.
“Thankfully Dave is a mechanic and knows all about Toyota. If we have any breakdowns hopefully he will be able to fix it. If the worst happens then we will just have to buy a different car along the way.
“Hopefully the Yaris will make it and we have a sponsor who has offered to ship the car home from Tokyo for us - which will be great as we were not looking forward to having to leaving it behind when we fly home in October.”
For more details and to sponsor Dan and Dave for Children in Need visit: Chatteris2Tokyo.com