Thunderbird 4 Charity Rally To Spain

Thunderbird 4 Charity Rally To Spain

If you thought Thunderbird 4 was at home in the water, just wait until you see it on land! Join Tony Adams as he provides an account of his team and their charity rally to Spain in their very own Thunderbird 4!

Thunderbird 4 Charity Rally
The Team and Thunderbird 4

About The Project

Our team of four recently took part in the Benidorm or Bust charity drive. We converted a Vaxhall Zafira into Thunderbird 4, drove it down to Dover, through France, stopping at Tours, and Biarritz, then across Spain, stopping in Madrid, then on to Benidorm. It was a journey spanning some 1800 miles. We funded the car, hotels and petrol ourselves, so 100% of all donations will go direct to the Alzheimer’s Society.

We undertook this project in aid of the Alzheimer’s Society. We all know someone who has suffered with Dementia, it’s a very good charity and we are hoping to raise as much as we can.

Getting Started

We set off from Manchester On the Tuesday morning, 12th June, heading for Dover. We met up with two other teams at a service station on the M6, and went the rest of the way in convoy. The Rally didn’t officially start until Wednesday morning, so we had a leisurely drive that day. We settled into our hotel by the ferry terminal then went to the Rally HQ to sign in. We then went for something to eat and few pre-rally drinks.

Teams Galore

We had to be at the Rally HQ at 7am on Wednesday morning for the brief and we arrived in our full Thunderbird outfits, bubbles blowing everywhere. There was a final count of 156 cars and 450 people. We all jumped in our cars and off to the ferry terminal. It became madness, horns, PA’s with all sorts of sound effects coming from every car. Our car had the Thunderbirds theme playing through our PA, and of course loads of bubbles.  It was only a short wait before we got on the ferry. It was so funny, 450 people all in fancy dress.

Leaving Calais

We set off from Calais heading to Tours. This was a long drive and we decided to take mainly motorways. There were many teams taking the same route and we passed/got passed many times. The atmosphere was great! We stopped a few times for snacks, drinks and the toilet. Each time we stopped, there would always be a group of teams, which we joined in with the banter. Usually a water pistol fight broke out, but being International Rescue, we were well armed to protect ourselves.

We arrived in Tours without any issues or problems; it was a good smooth drive. Our hotel was in the centre of Tours so we introduced our Thunderbird and bubbles to the city. The French have a great sense of humour, it caused quite a stir. We arrived at the hotel, parked our car (the rally seemed to have taken over the hotel and car park) and checked in.

We went out (in our Thunderbirds T-shirts) for some food and a few well-earned drinks.

Heading For Biarritz

The next day we were heading for Biarritz and we decided to join up with another team and do the rest of the trip together. This time we went cross-country. Countless small French villages all watched, their inhabitants’ mouths wide open, as we drove past.  It was a hot day, so we wore our Thunderbirds T-shirts instead of our full dress uniforms and one of us, Liam, decided to be Lady Penelope for the day. We all stopped at this amazing French restaurant for lunch. They had never seen anything like us before, they only spoke a very small amount of English, and we French, but the food was amazing and we were all set to make it to Biarritz. It took an extra three hours to get there going cross-country, but it was well worth it.

We booked into our hotel and again went out to find the rest of the teams for food and a beer.

Up And Over

The next day, we decided to deviate from the planned route and go over the Pyrenees Mountains instead. This was amazing, we stopped a couple of times for food and pictures, one of the cars overheated and needed a part, but they sorted it pretty quickly. We all arrived in Madrid in good time considering we went a long way off the planned route. Madrid was a crazy place to drive. Everyone behaved, but the volume of traffic was quite overwhelming. We had to park in an underground parking lot, about a mile from the hotel and walk the rest of the way.

Madrid was amazing, it was the day Spain played Portugal in the World Cup and the atmosphere was fantastic. We all said we wanted to come back and spend a few days there. A few hours were not enough.

The Last Leg

The last leg, to Benidorm.

This was the shortest leg, about three hours drive. So far, so good, no breakdowns, no problems at all. And we still had 5 litres of bubble mix left (we started with 40 litres).

We took the shortest route to get there. There’s a big get together at the end, where the voting for the prizes takes place. One team, one vote.  We got there in very good time, and my wife and daughter had flown out to meet me at the finish line. Our car was still going strong, but about eight cars didn’t finish.

We were amazed with the prizes, we won Third Place for best car, which was absolutely fantastic, we are so pleased!

We all had an amazing time, long days but worth every minute. Our Thunderbird has held up brilliantly. We had a small power steering leak, but we knew about that before we set off and two top ups got us all the way.

All For Charity

With the cash donations we have raised about £1500 so far. The Just Giving page is still active and if anyone wishes to donate it would be greatly appreciated.

Our thanks to Tony for sharing this lovely story. The Alzheimer’s Society is a charity very close to our hearts and you can read more about this on our Gerry Anderson Tribute Fund page.

Has anyone else taken part in a rally with a Gerry Anderson themed team and/or vehicle? If so let us know about it in the comments below!

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Written by
Andrew Clements

A writer, film maker and self confessed Gerry Anderson fanatic. Free to good home.

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