BMW ‘banger’ gets new lease of life for rally challenge for Rennie Grove

Martin Robson (left) and the BMW he purchased from James Davies (right).

Martin Robson (left) and the BMW he purchased from James Davies (right). - Credit: Archant

Calling all car enthusiasts… A rally challenge with a difference is being launched at the Rose and Crown in St Albans this month (July 19) and there is still time to get on board.

Rennie Grove Hospice Care is inviting people to get a team together for the two-day Banger to Bangor and Back event and help raise funds for the charity’s vital work in caring for people with cancer and other life-limiting conditions as well as family support for their loved ones in Herts and Bucks.

The rally calls for teams to drive from St Albans to Bangor in North West Wales and back in two days – and in a car costing no more than £500.

Among the first to rise to the challenge is a team from Brian Robson Coachworks in St Albans who are busy preparing a 17-year-old BMW 525 for the rally, which sets off from St Michael’s Manor on Saturday September 16, returning the following day.

The team and their car will have to undertake around six hours of driving both days, and complete various challenges along the way.

Martin Robson is heading up the team and said he decided to sign up because “it’s a great cause and I love cars – especially being in the motor trade”.

He spotted the BMW for sale at the side of the road and phoned the owner, who generously dropped the price when he learned that it was going to be used in the cross-country fundraiser.

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Now the clock is ticking for the makeover team at Brian Robson Coachworks, who are intent on getting the car as reliable, robust and eye-catching as possible before the starter’s flag drops.

“Owning a bodyshop will definitely give us an advantage when improving this car,” he said.

“It’s in average condition, considering it’s 17 years old, but is soon to look a lot better once the team get their hands on it,” added Martin, who is keeping the BMW’s rally image under wraps until the launch event at the Rose and Crown. “I don’t want to ruin the surprise,” he tells anyone who asks what he has planned, adding: “You’ll have to wait and see!”

Martin’s refurbished BMW will be unveiled at the launch event on July 19, which coincides with the St Albans Chamber of Commerce Summer BBQ hosted by the Rose and Crown.

Tickets are available at

Martin urges other driving and car enthusiasts to join him, saying: “It’s a great opportunity to raise money for a fantastic cause and have a bit of fun at the same time.

“Definitely sign up!”

Entry is £1,500 per team of between two and four people, which covers accommodation and food. £1,000 of the fee goes to Rennie Grove Hospice Care’s services.

The Banger to Bangor and Back is not a competition based on speed, so there is no race involved.

Winners will be judged on the challenges set, the decoration of the car and the teamwork shown.

For more information contact Rennie Grove Hospice Care at, call 01727 731000 or visit