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Teachers reunited with 'desert' 2CV

PUBLISHED: 07:00 04 January 2010 | UPDATED: 07:10 02 July 2010

Eleanor Chubb and Richard Hollis with their 2CV in which they travelled to Africa as part of a trek to raise money for Motor Neurone Disease.

Eleanor Chubb and Richard Hollis with their 2CV in which they travelled to Africa as part of a trek to raise money for Motor Neurone Disease.

Matthew Sparkes

Two teachers have been reunited with the tiny car that carried them to victory in a month-long rally through the Sahara Desert in November.

Eleanor Chubb, a 26-year-old art teacher from Bracon Ash, and Richard Hollis, 30, were the youngest British team to compete in the 2009 Touareg Trail - a mostly off-road race across Africa for 2CV owners.

Two teachers have been reunited with the tiny car that carried them to victory in a month-long rally through the Sahara Desert in November.

Eleanor Chubb, a 26-year-old art teacher from Bracon Ash, and Richard Hollis, 30, were the youngest British team to compete in the 2009 Touareg Trail - a mostly off-road race across Africa for 2CV owners.

The epic journey saw them cover 6,000 miles from Belgium to Benin on the West African coast in a 25-year-old 602cc Citroen.

And now the trusty car has been shipped back to Norfolk, complete with several kilograms of African dust and mud, ready to be pressed into service as Miss Chubb's day-to-day transport.

“We built the car from scratch out of bits from a scrap yard,” she said.

“It's still got a dent on it from where a Fiat 126 was stacked on top of it.”

Miss Chubb's passion for the tiny French vehicles began when she was given one as a present by her parents for her 17th birthday.

Since then she has “lost count” of how many she has owned and also learned to repair most parts herself, a skill which came in especially useful on her recent adventure.

The car's front suspension arm was bent in the first week of the rally, and among the 20 cars competing there were over 250 punctures.

And mechanical faults were not the only problems they had to contend with. The two drivers had to be constantly aware of land mines, poisonous scorpions and the threat of kidnap.

“There was no guarantee we would finish. You're getting up at six in the morning and driving until eight or nine at night,” said Miss Chubb.

“It was definitely not a holiday - it was a challenge from start to finish.”

At the end of the rally the pair were shocked to find that they had won an award for having the most “team spirit”, which Miss Chubb said was an honour to match winning the competition in 2007.

The couple raised sponsorship money for the Motor Neurone Disease Association before their trip, as Mr Hollis' mother suffers from the incurable and terminal condition.

Currently Miss Chubb and Mr Hollis, who is from Northamptonshire, are just short of their £5,000 fundraising target, and donations can be made by visiting www.justgiving.com/snailafrica.

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