Cross Hills couple Mark Ratcliffe and Nikki Finch gear up for Sahara driving challenge (From Craven Herald)
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Cross Hills couple Mark Ratcliffe and Nikki Finch gear up for Sahara driving challenge
11:00am Sunday 1st September 2013 in News
A Cross Hills couple will take part in the final of one of the world’s toughest driving competitions.
Mark Ratcliffe, 50, and his partner Nikki Finch, 47, will be one of 14 teams navigating 1,000 miles of the Sahara Desert’s sand dunes and the Atlas Mountains in the chase for the Conti 4x4 Trophy.
During the course of the race, which starts on Wednesday and is run by Continental Tyres, Mark and co-driver Nikki will cross breathtaking but dangerous scenery and fiery sand dunes, navigating through rocky gorges and fording spectacular rivers.
The six-day trip to Morocco will see the two fly to Casablanca before travelling on to Ouarzazate, nicknamed “the door to the desert” and where films such as Lawrence of Arabia, The Living Daylights, The Mummy and Gladiator were filmed.
They will navigate the difficult terrain during the day and be pampered at night in a selection of luxury hotels, also having true Bedouin experience with one night camping under the stars.
Mark and Nikki came top in a competition, run over 12 weeks, and were one of 28 pairs of drivers invited to a qualifying event at the Land Rover test track in June, where their skills and aptitude were tested. Fourteen teams were selected for the African trek.
Mark, who runs a brand development company with Nikki, said: “We really can’t wait to start the challenge.
“We’re looking forward to getting to know the other competitors, seeing Morocco and creating some fantastic memories.”
Nikki said: “We’re looking forward to the whole adventure and being a part of the Conti 4x4 Trophy. This is my second trip to Morocco as a competition winner, as I was in the winning team on the TV programme The Crystal Maze back in the 90s.”
Continental Tyres spokesman Peter Robb said: “This is truly a once-in-a lifetime driving experience – Mark and Nikki can expect a real challenge.
“We’re really looking forward to them being part of an amazing adventure.”
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