An intrepid trio of local ‘lady racers’ are currently rallying through 12 european countries on a 1,600 mile fundraising trip for cancer charities.
Paula McErlain, Louise Buckley and Annie Mottram are undertaking the trip in memory of Paula’s son Callan, a keen motorcross racer who passed away last year, aged just 16, after suffering from rare cancer Ewing’s Sarcoma.
After the excellent care which Callan and his family received from the Belfast Cancer Centre and from Clic Sargent, the women entered the Motorscape banger rally to raise money for the two organisations and have collected £4,300 so far.
The ladies are travelling in a bright orange 16-year-old Volkswagen Golf with over 160,000 miles on the clock which bears the slogan ‘Callan’s Angels.’
Speaking from Europe, they told The Times: “We started in France on Saturday September 6, and we’ve been to Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Austria and have arrived in Venice in Italy today (September 10). We’re exhausted but we’re having an unforgettable time.”
In Germany, the women were thrilled to have the opportunity to drive around the famous Nürburgring, which has hosted the German and European Formula 1 Grand Prix races.
Louise said: “We did a lap of the Nürburgring, which was incredible. We arrived late, it had just closed but they opened it for us because we’d come all the way from Northern Ireland and they didn’t charge us. What an experience.”
The women are traversing two mountain ranges as part of the challenge, and they say it is thanks to the skill of local engineers that their ‘banger’ has made it this far: “Yesterday we traversed the Stelvio pass which was a hairy experience as the brakes failed on one of the hairpin bends! It was terrifying, but after letting them cool for half an hour we were on our way. We were one of the lucky ones, a lot of cars didn’t make it to the top.
“All credit to Darren Fleck from Fleck Car Repairs in Ballyclare for getting us this far!”
Despite their intense rallying schedule, the women are enjoying life on the open road. Louise concluded: “It feels like an endurance test but it is one of the best experiences and something we will never forget!”
To donate visit https://www.justgiving.com/TEAM338-CLIC/ or https://www.justgiving.com/TEAM338-FOTCC/.