Rayelle and Richard Smith have dubbed their challenge ‘Overland to Oz’ and will leave the UK in May 2014. They will travel through Western Europe, Central and South East Asia, including Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey, Iran, Uzbekistan, China, Thailand and Singapore, before shipping the 110 to Darwin and driving to their finish point – dinner with their daughter Celestine in Brisbane, Queensland.
Over the past year engineer Richard has already rebuilt the engine and gearbox, fitted uprated suspension and brakes, and a 140-litre long-range fuel tank, as well as an air conditioner to cope with harsh desert temperatures.
Modifications underway include a 50-litre fresh water tank, navigation system, fold-out bed, cupboards and petrol cooker. Finally, it will have a roll cage and a winch to get it back on four wheels should it topple.
Richard says: ‘The Land Rover is 22 years old – it’s been in the family since I bought it new in 1991. It was time to either do it up or scrap it, so we decided to keep the vehicle and use it for our across the world challenge.’
The pair hope to raise more than £10,000 for the Stroud-based charity. Rayelle says: ‘Meningitis is a devastating disease. We know of too many stories concerning family and friends dying or surviving it with devastating life-changing after-effects. We wanted to do something epic to help eradicate the disease and raise awareness.’
Meningitis Now chief executive Sue Davie says: ‘Rayelle and Richard’s continents challenge is inspirational and intrepid – we wish them all the best.’
To make a donation, see justgiving.com/OverlandtoOz.