Regular readers may remember a short news item in our Bits and Pieces section in 2019 when everything was being cancelled due to COVID. We reported that Austin Healey specialist and historic racer Jeremy Welch and his daughter Arabella, got as far as southern Spain in a 4 x 4 Panda only to see the Panda Raid event, for which they had been entered, cancelled, leaving them to turn around and go back home to the UK. You may also remember back even further to our April 2018 issue when Joel Wykeham, also a historic racer with a taste for mad adventures, wrote a report of his Panda Raid experience, as he tackled the 1200kms of Morocco’s toughest off-road terrain including endless sand dunes, dry riverbeds and rock fields in a ’90s classic Fiat Panda.
This year their ambition to form a father-daughter team and tackle the tough seven-day event from Almeria in Southern Spain to Ouarzazate in the deserts of Morocco, with no wifi, no gps and only a compass and Roadbook to guide them, finally came true for Jeremy and Arabella. They, along with friends Mike and Sarah Thorne (née Bennet-Baggs) and Pia and Tony Bianchi went off piste along with over 300 other Panda drivers in a crazy adventure that Jeremy said was, “The best thing I’ve ever done. Now all this driving round and round in circles just doesn’t seem the same.”
Read more in our September 2023 issue…
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