4 students 1 Maestro ...next stop Mongolia

From left, Guy Laister, 20, Zac Coleman, 19, and front David Tapping, 21, with their 1992 Austin Maestro.  Main picture: David Fleming

From left, Guy Laister, 20, Zac Coleman, 19, and front David Tapping, 21, with their 1992 Austin Maestro. Main picture: David Fleming Buy this photo

First published in News by

IT IS a motoring challenge you would normally expect to see in Top Gear.

A mammoth 20,000 mile quest from Banbury to Mongolia in an old banger bought for £236 on eBay.

But that’s exactly what four friends are planning to do to raise cash for a special needs school.

Guy Laister and Zachary Coleman, both 20, will hit the road for the Friends of Frank Wise School with pals 21-year-old David Tapping and Tim Morgan, 19.

A 22 year-old Austin Maestro – that’s been on the road since before they were even born – will ferry them across the globe, raising money for the school where Mr Laister’s 15-year-old sister Olivia is a student.

Miss Laister has cerebral palsy, which affects movement and co-ordination.

Big brother Guy, who lives in Chipping Norton ansd is a graphic design student at the University of Gloucestershire, said: “We wanted to do something for a charity where we could see where all the money is going.

The Oxford Times:

The team plan to travel to Mongolia to raise money for a special needs school in Banbury attended by Guy’s sister Olivia, inset with dad Nick and Prime Minister David Cameron

“My sister goes to the Frank Wise School in Banbury. We went there to have a look around and we saw they needed some new gym equipment. That’s why we’re doing it.”

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Their 1992 Maestro had 108,000 miles on the clock when they bought it. But as soon they picked it up in London it broke down and they had to get it towed back to Banbury. As a result they have already had to fix the wheel bearings and cooling system.

The team, who have ominously nicknamed themselves Team Stranded, have spent five months fixing-up the vehicle ahead of the challenging road trip.

Mr Tapping, a computer science student at Oxford Brookes University, said: “Guy is interested in classic cars and he knows how to fix the car, and that’s why we wanted to do that challenge.

“We went for the Maestro as it had high ground clearance for rough terrain, simple mechanics meaning less to go wrong and the ease of repairing when it goes wrong in remote countries.” The team has added fog lights, a roof box and even a fully-fitted shower for the trip.

Mr Laister has owned several classic cars including a 1989 Austin Metro City X, 1977 Austin Vandanplas 1500 and a 1982 Austin Allegro L.

Mr Tapping is preparing himself to drive the lion’s share of the journey with Mr Laister. Coventry University student Zachary and Chipping Norton lad Tim will be helping out along the ride.

The challenge will see them drive through Europe, into Turkey and then Georgia before driving through to Mongolia.

The students will take on some of the world’s most dangerous roads, including the Pamir Highway , which travels through Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan.

Mr Tapping said: “It is very mountainous and very dangerous.”

The epic journey will take the team between six to eight weeks to complete.

They will drive off from Fairytale Farm – a sensory farm park the Laister family opened last year, which provides activities aimed at children and the disabled in Chipping Norton.

The students hope to raise £1,000 for the charity. For more details, see teamstranded.moonfruit.com

Comments (5)

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4:17pm Fri 2 May 14

EMBOX2 says...

"A 22 year-old Austin Maestro – that’s been on the road since before they were even born – will ferry them across the globe"

No it won't. It was built by Bob Cullen and his pals (when they weren't on strike, which was almost permanantly) at BL in Cowley. It wouldn't make it to Maidenhead let alone Mongolia.
"A 22 year-old Austin Maestro – that’s been on the road since before they were even born – will ferry them across the globe" No it won't. It was built by Bob Cullen and his pals (when they weren't on strike, which was almost permanantly) at BL in Cowley. It wouldn't make it to Maidenhead let alone Mongolia. EMBOX2
  • Score: -5

6:38pm Fri 2 May 14

Dilligaf2010 says...

Horrible little car, I suggest they take 4 mountain bikes with them, it'll save having to walk almost 20,000 miles
Horrible little car, I suggest they take 4 mountain bikes with them, it'll save having to walk almost 20,000 miles Dilligaf2010
  • Score: -6

7:19pm Fri 2 May 14

Tanya Field says...

Out of my many classics, my Maestros are the best behaved. One is 30 years old, the other 31 and both still wearing the paint they left Cowley in. Even that surprises me as no one can deny that they suffer with corrosion, especially around the seams. However, as 'seam rot' is an anagram of Maestro, what do you expect!

The great thing about them and the 1275cc A Series engine is that they are cheap and easy to fix. Other than the problems with corrosion, you can run a basic 1.3L Maestro forever, and there not bad for fuel consumption either.

I have previous owners for both my Maestros wanting them back should I ever sell. But why would I? They're great cars :-)

Good luck Team Stranded. Fly the flag proudly for Maestro and Cowley, but most of all, have fun!
Out of my many classics, my Maestros are the best behaved. One is 30 years old, the other 31 and both still wearing the paint they left Cowley in. Even that surprises me as no one can deny that they suffer with corrosion, especially around the seams. However, as 'seam rot' is an anagram of Maestro, what do you expect! The great thing about them and the 1275cc A Series engine is that they are cheap and easy to fix. Other than the problems with corrosion, you can run a basic 1.3L Maestro forever, and there not bad for fuel consumption either. I have previous owners for both my Maestros wanting them back should I ever sell. But why would I? They're great cars :-) Good luck Team Stranded. Fly the flag proudly for Maestro and Cowley, but most of all, have fun! Tanya Field
  • Score: 5

7:33pm Fri 2 May 14

Brisseh says...

Give us a like here if you are interested!
www.facebook.com/Tea
mstranded
Give us a like here if you are interested! www.facebook.com/Tea mstranded Brisseh
  • Score: 5

10:35pm Fri 2 May 14

Tanya Field says...

I've just found this great comment (below) on Facebook. There's nothing like having the info directly from the horse's mouth!

'They couldn't have chosen a better vehicle. I have taken two Montego's on different banger rallies, the first to the Gambia crossing the Sahara desert and the second to Yerevan in Armenia. In both cases the Maestro/Montego proved itself to be nothing short of bullet proof. You can also fix them with bit's of other cars. After bending the front strut on our countryman we fixed it with bits off a Golf, Renault, Peugeot & Transit.'
I've just found this great comment (below) on Facebook. There's nothing like having the info directly from the horse's mouth! 'They couldn't have chosen a better vehicle. I have taken two Montego's on different banger rallies, the first to the Gambia crossing the Sahara desert and the second to Yerevan in Armenia. In both cases the Maestro/Montego proved itself to be nothing short of bullet proof. You can also fix them with bit's of other cars. After bending the front strut on our countryman we fixed it with bits off a Golf, Renault, Peugeot & Transit.' Tanya Field
  • Score: 3

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