The Road Less Travelled: An Account of Click Dealer’s Bangers for Ben 2018 Journey
- November 2, 2018
- Posted by: Alex Baker
- Category: Charitable Work
By the Click Dealer Bangers for Ben Squadron
The Journey started for the now legendary Click Dealer Squadron ‘Spitfire One’ and ‘Blues Brothers One’ back in June 2018.
Click attended its first expo event, CDX in Manchester, and chose Ben as it’s charity partner. As part of our display, attendees were encouraged to cycle a bike to raise money for Ben, win a holiday and create the power to propel our Tesla on a theoretical trip around Europe! The physical challenge was a hit, creating great awareness for a more than deserving cause.
While supporting this great charity, we learned about the Bangers for Ben rally and were keen to get involved. Once the team at Ben explained the premise, we jumped at the chance to join in, signing up for two places without a moment’s hesitation! We quickly laid out plans upon return to our Shelton based office, carefully organising everything from our cars to outfits! Naturally, our hat was full of hopeful applicants, all itching to help out such a worthy cause.
A European road trip is the stuff of dreams, however when it comes to car choices people are heavily divided. If you want to fully take advantage of the pristine asphalt and jaw dropping views, a sporty roadster is the only way to go. Director and Head of Web Ollie saw no other option and set out to find his stead… Thankfully one of our excellent customers, Stockport Car Supermarket, had the perfect car in stock. To this day he maintains he struck £750 deal for that car, Andy from the AA was less than convinced…
Jake and I agreed a sports car would be incredible fun on those tight undulating mountain roads, but for the majority of our trip we’d be tackling mile after mile of tedious motorways. Therefore, the only option for us was something comfortable!
To that end, we stumbled upon a gorgeous silver Y reg 3-Series and instantly fell in love. While it may not be the last word in speed, we were confident our German stallion would take us the distance and in far greater comfort than Ollie and Joe would experience!
Following the acquisition of our cars, we had to decide on our theme and apply them accordingly. Being as suave as we are, a Blues Brothers theme was by far the best option. Armed with a spray can and an impressive imagination, Jake set to work on our soon to be beloved Beemer with a set of spray cans; and a few cans for himself too!
From the work he presented me with, I have a sneaking suspision Jake could well be behind the elusive Banksy markings across our great country. To accompany our factory fresh paint job, a series of stickers were chosen to complete the look. A few choice extras were added and with that our car was complete!
For our pristine MX-5, Ollie’s shaky hands just couldn’t be trusted. Instead, armed with his begging face and Daddy’s phonebook, he turned to M&M designs to bring his design to life! Having already decorated our Tesla for the CDX expo, we knew just how talented these guys are; even after seeing their previous work though we never expected it to turn out as well as it did however…
Paying homage to those who made this trip during the Second World War, we thought it was fitting to decorate the MX-5 in Spitfire attire; it was designed in Stoke after all! The final results were amazing and drew a huge amount of attention as we crossed the continent!
Upon arrival at the hotel, we decided it was only right to start as we meant to carry on and cracked open a few cold ones to accompany our microwave dinner! This wouldn’t be a dry trip if we had anything to do with it.
Then it was off to bed to get a good night’s rest in preparation for the trip of a lifetime, trying not to let the nagging worry of whether our bangers would actually make the entire 1,400-mile epic trip keep us awake.
We couldn’t have hoped for a better start! A wall of traffic is never a friendly sight, that is unless your car is filled with more snacks than a fully stocked Sainsburys!
When we arrived at Brooklands, we met up with the other Bangers for Ben drivers and we were impressed with how good all the cars looked. It was a sight to be seen with everybody in fancy dress and good spirits and it made us excited for the journey ahead.
Following the meet, we all departed for the White Cliffs, both cars made it with no problems, albeit at different times! This wasn’t the first time our convoy would be broken…
We were more than happy to pose with the slightly bemused holiday makers as they began their journey to warmer climates. I’d also like to take the time to highlight one of our fallen comrades. The Mini pictured was unfortunately wounded and subsequently died from its injuries; cause of death? A broken drive shaft…
The boat over to France gave us a nice break from what had already been a busy day of driving. The Blues Brothers team was in good spirts and even had time to take part in the flash mob. Watch out for Jake’s swift exit to the back of the group!
As Blues Brothers One and Spitfire One were separated, we took to social media to communicate, and upon landing, we received an update from the Spitfire squadron on their progress in to France…
As the Blues Brothers car entered the final stages of the journey (after getting lost somewhere along the way) we sent out this urgent message to our comrades, requesting support.
As you can see from the tweets, the gang were loving the Bangers for Ben trip so far, with both cars still going strong and arriving in Reims, France before the last banger.
After managing to get ourselves out of bed, we headed to the former F1 circuit in Reims.
From the former race circuit, it was on to Stuttgart for the next leg of the journey, but disaster struck! Blues Brothers One had an engine coolant problem, leaving us sidelined until the AA came to our rescue. It was the last thing the Click squadron needed, but do you think it dampened our spirits? Well, maybe for a little while!
Meanwhile, Spitfire One was proving to be a massive hit at the German service station, gathering a crowd. There was also plenty of attention for the two pilots. They may have played it down, but we all know they loved every minute of it!
The Blues Brothers then decided that it was time to have some fun again with a spot of carpool karaoke! Before you ask, unfortunately we won’t be giving up the day job!
The plan for day three was to head to Belgium through the epic roads of the Black Forest via the infamous Nürburgring. We were certainly looking forward to this stage of the journey as the views and roads are said to be the best in the whole of Europe. Plus, there was the bonus of seeing the famous track that so many F1 champions have raced on over the years. As the below video shows, we did not hang around, tearing up the road to the fast and furious sound track!
Disaster struck however, the Green Hell was out of action due to a thick layer of fog covering the ground and imparing our vision. In a bid to cheer ourselves up, we utilised our rear drive setup and produced some lovely doughnuts on the gravel car park!
With our smiles firmly reinstated, we set about finding lunch in the nearby village of Baden-Baden. We found some ingredients and crafted a great lunch. While we were indeed satisfied with our meal, the same couldn’t be said for the local’s opinion of our picnic spot!
After arriving in Bruges, the boys gathered the gang (Motorcheck, FSA and Autotrader) for one last European night out.
As you can imagine, it was a slow start for the Click squadron after the late night before, making ours the last cars out of the overnight hotel. It was going to be a very tight deadline for both cars to reach the ferry.
In a cruel twist of fate, we were split up once again as the French Customs Officers decided it was our car that should be pulled for an examination. This subsequently led to us missing our ferry home!
After waiting for what felt like an eternity, made all the more strenuous by fighting to keep the hungry police dog from devouring our remaining snacks, we were finally released. Blues Brothers One were resigned to the fact that Rockingham, our original destination was out of the question. Thankfully Spitfire One filled half of Click Dealer’s spaces for the track driving.
After the Rockingham event it, was on to the Hilton Hotel in Northampton for the gala dinner. You would never have guessed it, but the Click squadron actually turned up on time for once and don’t we scrub up well considering the four days we’d just had?
It was a great evening, and after the bar closed, the party continued in the Nag’s Head. With free beer and bar snacks, the Click squadron had to pop over to the back of the car park for a tipple. Sgt Poody even brought a date along!
The end to the Bangers for Ben rally 2018 was made official with the Blues Brothers car being taken off to BSA to be sold.
Thanks to all our fellow Bangers for Ben comrades for making it an extremely fun trip and to the dedicated event organisers for letting us take part! Bring on next year!