Charity trek raises hospital cash

Winning driver Alan McNish, second from left, met Thomas Horsburgh, Adam Welsh and Chris Miller. Picture: contributed
Winning driver Alan McNish, second from left, met Thomas Horsburgh, Adam Welsh and Chris Miller. Picture: contributed
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A MADCAP motorist who drove nearly 2000 miles in a Robin Reliant three-wheeler to raise cash for the Sick Kids has told how repeated breakdowns and mishaps nearly ended his dream drive.

Kilt-clad Chris Miller, 29, and co-driving chum Thomas Horsburgh, 37, took the car to Le Mans in northern France to raise cash for the hospital, after being inspired to restore it in tribute to Chris’s late grandfather, who used to drive it around Tranent.

But the pair have revealed the epic journey nearly ended in disaster after a series of calamities saw the suspension on the car, made famous by sitcom Only Fools and Horses, pack in just after crossing the Border into England. They also took a wrong turn which added over 300 miles to their journey and to top it all off, suffered a faulty clutch which nearly stranded the pair on the wrong side of the Channel.

Chris described their “endurance race” as a great experience but added: “From the moment we left it was one thing after another. The suspension gave out at Alnwick, then I was filling up the car at Scotch Corner when a wee wifey tapped me on the shoulder and pointed out we were flooding the place with petrol, and we managed to get lost so often in France that a 1600-mile journey somehow took 1900. Between the noise the car was making without suspension and the petrol fumes I admit our tempers were a little bit frayed.”

However, after their epic drive, the duo soon discovered the orange 1970s motor was a huge draw,

Chris continued: “Everywhere we went people wanted their picture taken with it. We became known as the Robin Reliant guys! It was crazy, especially considering Le Mans is known for top of the line cars like Porsche and Mercedes.”

One person keen to have his snap taken with the cute car was Dumfries-born race car driver Alan McNish, 43 – who won last month’s Le Mans 24 Hours race.

Unfortunately for Chris and Thomas the journey home was not without its pit-stops also.

Chris explained: “We’d only made it to Rouen when the clutch packed in, so every time we stopped we had to completely restart the car. If we’d been in any other vehicle we’d probably have been on the receiving end of serious road rage but everyone just seemed to think it was hysterical.”

However, Chris and Thomas also managed to raise over £2000 for Edinburgh Sick Kids Hospital with their epic feat.

Chris said: “I’d like to do more to help them in the future, but I probably won’t be using my granddad’s car.”