In early July a team of MG enthusiasts are taking part in the Cape
to Cape Challenge, an endurance run crossing Europe from North to South.
This is an organised event, the aim being to drive from the North Cape of Norway
(Nordkapp) to Cape Tarifa in southern Spain (near Gibraltar) non-stop. It is a distance of
over 3500 miles for which the record currently stands at just under 57hours. The event is
strictly controlled, all cars being fitted with tachographs to ensure speed limits are
complied with, and enable verification of any record that could be set.
The car they will be driving is a Montego Estate hence the team name 'The Full Monty'
Although not strictly an MG, it has been modified to MG specification, similar to two
factory cars built in the late 80s. The car is in fact a 1991 Rover Montego 2.0 GTI
Estate, which, like the company that made it, was going to be put on the scrapheap a few
months ago, but it too has now been reborn as an MG with hopefully a bright future ahead
Neil Turner from Hoddesdon rescued the car from its potential fate when
passing his local Nissan dealer, about the time he heard about the Cape to Cape Challenge.
It was bought for just £100 and has since had a makeover, consisting of some replacement
panels, a respray, and a full service (mechanically it is totally original having covered
a mere 117,000 miles).
He recruited a few friends for the venture. Dave Cowan is an electrician and also from
Hoddesdon. John Dalton from Coventry works for Rover and is an experienced rally driver.
He has undertaken a few motoring marathons before, including driving from Lands End to
John O'Groats and back in the same day. David Smith from Wokingham, an IT project manager
with Siemens, has been taking part in grass-roots motorsport such as trials and sprints
with the MG Car Club for over 20 years. Three of the team are also members of the MG'M'
Group, a club for owners of MG 'saloons' (i.e. Metros, Maestros and Montegos).
The Cape to Cape Challenge this year has about 40 teams taking part. They will meet up in
Newcastle on 2 July where the cars are scrutineered prior to taking the ferry to Norway
and a drive up inside the Arctic Circle. The Challenge starts on the morning of Friday 7
July at Nordkapp, and finishes on Sunday evening at Cape Tarifa. This year is the first
time that the whole route can be driven directly without using ferries, the new
Oresundbron linking Malmo to Copenhagen is due to be opened on 2 July.
Two TV companies are planning to cover the event, with a BBC crew actually taking part, so
the team might feature in a TV programme! Before that you should be able to check up on
the progress of 'the full Monty' on the Channel 4 car website during the event on
Wimbledon finals weekend. The team is planning to e-mail reports and pictures onto the
site directly before and during the event.
The Full Monty The Team
Neil Turner, a customer service engineer from Hoddesdon, Herts, is team
leader and the man first attracted to doing the Cape to Cape Challenge. He is club
secretary of the MGM Group, a club for owners of modern MG 'saloons' (i.e. Metros,
Maestros and Montegos), and it was in this capacity he got to hear about the event.
Having found the 'ideal' car to do it in, he set about finding two or three other people
mad enough to take on the challenge. Neil already owns a couple of other Montegos, an MG
which he has used in sprints and hillclimbs over the past couple of years, and a modified
16-valve MG Turbo.
The first person signed up for the venture was John Dalton, another MG'M' member. John is
an experienced rally driver and has undertaken a number of escapades in MG Maestros. He
has done a few motoring marathons before, including driving from Lands End to John
O'Groats and back in the same day. John (still) works for Rover in the marketing
department and lives in Coventry with his collection of three MG Maestros.
Neil then persuaded a close friend, Dave Cowan, an electrician living close by in
Hoddesdon, to join the team. Unfortunately Dave dislocated his shoulder with only 10 days
to go and was forced to drop out, so perhaps the team should now be called 'the not quite
so Full Monty'
Last but not least is David Smith, another MG enthusiast who sprints and hillclimbs an MG
Montego. David, from Wokingham, is an IT project manager with Siemens who has been taking
part in grass-roots motorsport such as trials and sprints with the MG Car Club for over 20