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Cape Town to London record - Eric Jackson fears for Panda drivers on epic African drive
Eric Jackson had guns and ammunition when he drove from London to Cape Town. Now this great-grandfather fears for two drivers who are attempting the same trip.
By: Tropican Sun Design
But Eric Jackson, ex-rally champion and marathon man is concerned about their route. ‘As far as I can tell’ he says’ they are traveling through Ethiopia on the same route we took fifty years ago. Times have changed but the dangers still exist.’
Mr. Jackson, who set the record for driving from London to Cape Town exactly fifty years ago this year, said ‘I have every admiration for these guys. It’s a very tough drive, especially in a saloon vehicle. Normally, 4x4 vehicles are more suitable for the terrain in Africa. Roads have improved considerably since we broke the record but don’t think that this will be an easy drive for these guys. A saloon car is very unsuitable for a lot of the African terrain.’
Eric should know because in 1963 he and co-driver Ken Chambers broke the record for the London to Cape Town trip in a Ford Cortina.
Speaking from his home in Yorkshire, Mr. Jackson, now in his eighty-ninth year, said ‘I’ve spoken to Philip on the phone several times and he seems like a grand lad who has considerable experience of driving in Africa. I hope he realizes the dangers, which are immense. I see from his route map that he is driving from Nairobi. It was on that route that Ken and I were nearly killed by Somalian bandits. I know that this was fifty years ago but these perils still exist. Luckily Ken and I had a pair of guns and a hundred rounds of ammunition – and we needed them.’
Eric has described the trip, and other driving adventures, in his autobiography Petrol in my Blood which is available online and in select bookstores. He went on to explain ‘I realize that the journey is very different these days with GPS, cell phones and laptops, and cars are so very different but nevertheless, Philip and Paul are embarking on a great adventure and I wish them God-speed.’
Philip and Paul are expected to return to London before February 13th. If they make it through, Mr. Jackson hopes to be able to be present at the end of their trip to congratulate them on a fabulous achievement.