It's lights out and away we go - 10th anniversary of the Rust Bucket Rally will see 55 teams head to the Alps and back in support of Northamptonshire-based charities

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The 2024 Rust Bucket Rally is set to start tonight, with 122 people taking on the challenge of driving through some of Europe’s top sights in aid of local charity Ailsa’s Aim and the MND Association.

Carl Baldry, who is one of the organisers, plans to take his 2001 Mercedes CLK on the journey, which he bought for £500 in 2017.

He said: “I’m buzzing, I can’t wait to go.

“We’re all really confident, the excitement is massive at the moment. Some may have reservations, but everyone is too excited to be worried.

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All being well, the Rust Bucket Rally will return to Wellingborough's Old Grammarians on Monday eveningAll being well, the Rust Bucket Rally will return to Wellingborough's Old Grammarians on Monday evening
All being well, the Rust Bucket Rally will return to Wellingborough's Old Grammarians on Monday evening

“We just want to help the charities as much as we can. We’re doing really well.”

Participants in the Rust Bucket Rally are set to take to the road at 1.30am tomorrow morning, and will head to the French Riviera stopping in Cannes, Monaco, and more before circling back through the Alps on their pre-planned route home. It is expected that each day will see a minimum of 10 hours of driving.

The journey will take four days to complete, and at 7pm on Monday evening the convoy is expected to finish its trip with a heroes’ welcome by friends and family at the Old Grammarians in Wellingborough.

Now in its 10th year, the Rust Bucket Rally is a road trip challenge, inspired by Top Gear, which sends a handful of motoring enthusiasts to exotic and far-away locations in cars that costs no more than £1000.

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122 people are signed up to take part in this year’s outing in cars that Carl described as ‘probably past their sell-by date.’

Stuart Humphrey of Timotay Playscapes, based in Wollaston, is also set to take on the challenge in his 2004 Vauxhall Astra.

He added: "I am thrilled to be part of the Rust Bucket Rally.

"It’s more than just a test of endurance and mechanical skill, it’s an opportunity to give back. Ailsa's Aim does incredible work, and I am honoured to support them through this journey."

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In June 2023, the Rust Bucket Rally completed a round trip to Slovenia in aid of Breast Cancer Now, and in 2024 it has chosen to support Ailsa’s Aim, a charity based in Olney which provides essential resources, emotional support and practical assistance to families affected by cancer.

It will also be in aid of Motor Neurone Disease Association, which supports families affected by the condition that affects up to 5,000 adults in the UK at any one time.

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