Intrepid trio’s 3,000 miles across Europe in old banger

Bratislava or Bust


TRAVELLING over 3000 miles across 17 different countries in an old ‘banger’ three local students have successfully raised over £900 for charity.

Former Portora Royal students and now of Northumbria University, Newcastle; Ben Parkinson, Ben Forbes and Jack Byrne took part in the ‘Bratislava or Bust’ challenge in aid of Dementia UK.


The challenge involved taking an old car worth no more than £500 across Europe to Bratislava in Slovakia in seven days. Out of 26 cars the three Fermanagh lads finished a commendable fourth overall.

“We wanted to do some travelling this summer, came across it on the internet and thought it would be a good trip,” explained Ben Forbes.

The three intrepid students set out on their journey from Enniskillen late on July 29 before the rally started in Saint Omer, France on July 31. They finished in Bratislava on August 6.

“We covered over 3,000 miles and travelled through 17 countries on the way to Slovakia. Life on the road was good. It was pretty hectic during the rally as we were always on a tight schedule. We got challenges everyday so we were always racing against the clock to get the challenges done and get to check in on time.”

The car, a Volkswagen Vento, was bought in Derry and lasted almost the entire journey, until the suspension went in England on the way home.

“We didn’t have any major car trouble until we got back to England. It would overheat easily, so we would just pull in and let it cool down then keep going.

“For example when we went over the Stelvio Pass in the Alps we overheated three times, but we made it down the other side.


“The big trouble came when we got back to England and the suspension broke. A recovery truck got the car to the ferry and Jack’s dad met us on the other side with one of the Modern Tyres trucks.”

In total the 26 teams involved in ‘Bratislava or Bust’ have so far raised over £25,000.

To help the three Fermanagh men further with their fundraising efforts you can visit their page at;

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