Teams prepare for Top Gear-style banger challenge from St Albans to Wales

Martin Robson, left, and his BMW prepare for the St Albans to Bangor challenge. Picture: RENNIE GROV

Martin Robson, left, and his BMW prepare for the St Albans to Bangor challenge. Picture: RENNIE GROVE HOSPICE CARE - Credit: Archant

A Top Gear-style rally challenge where people drive to Wales and back in a £500 banger is being launched at the Rose and Crown pub in St Albans this month.

Rennie Grove Hospice Care is inviting people to get a team together for the two-day Banger to Bangor and Back event.

The event will help to 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 Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire.

The rally, which will be launched at the Rose and Crown on July 19, 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.

It is 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, as well as complete various challenges along the way.

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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.

Now the clock is ticking for the makeover team at Brian Robson Coachworks, which is 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,” said Mr Robson.

“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.

“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!”

His refurbished BMW will be unveiled at the launch event on July 19, which coincides with the St Albans Chamber of Commerce summer barbecue hosted by the Rose and Crown.

Entry for the rally challenge 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.

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