Andy Wilson, sales director at Ebbon-Dacs, is giving up his usual company car in favour of a tuk-tuk – a motorised rickshaw – as he travels 2,500 miles around India in two weeks to raise money for charity in the now annual ‘Rickshaw Run’.
In April, Wilson, along with co-driver Martin Liversage, a business manager with BT, will set off from Kochi in the south west Kerala province and terminate in Shillong, a hilltop village in the far north east of India, more than 2,500 miles later.
The pair will be travelling in a 145cc, two stroke, seven horsepower, three wheeled motorised rickshaw, known the world over as a ‘tuk-tuk’, as they attempt to complete the arduous journey over mountain and desert, and everything in between, in just two weeks.
"We estimate that we'll be driving the tuk-tuk for 12-14 hours a day. It has no doors, an engine which only produces only 7hp, a top speed of 55kph and is prone to breaking down all the time,” said Wilson.
“It is completely useless at protecting you from the elements and possibly the least suitable vehicle on the planet for covering the entire Indian subcontinent in a fortnight,” added Wilson, who, in his day job, is responsible, amongst others, for Ebbon-Dacs’ market-leading Leaselink e-procurement platform which is used by the majority of the UK’s major leasing companies to source, order and track delivery of more than 100,000 new fleet vehicles a year.
The trip is organised by fund raising organisation, The Adventurists, whose motto is “Fighting to make the world less boring – and saving a bit of it, too” and who recently announced that they had raised a total of £3.53m over the eight years that the Rickshaw Run adventure has been running.
The organisers supply the vehicle and driver training, but once the flag goes up, the two co-drivers, whose team ‘India Ink’ is one of 70 taking part, are on their own.
"It's an unsupported adventure and there are no resources to help us if we break down, run into local difficulties or get completely lost in the mountains. They've just told us where to start, where to finish and how long we have to do it in,” said Andy Wilson.
“It's not a race, and typically about 70% of teams make it to the finish line for a game of cricket with the locals,” he added.
Three charities will benefit from the adventure: Frank Water Projects, which helps brings clean drinking water to India, the Kidney Research Foundation and Queenscourt Hospice in Southport, Wilson and Liversage’s home town.