Elektor Team

Racing through India for charity on a glorified lawnmower

December 10, 2013 | 14:37
Racing through India for charity on a glorified lawnmower
Racing through India for charity on a glorified lawnmower

Wayne Cranwell, a senior engineer from RF Engines Limited (RFEL), is currently racing through India with a colleague, Stuart Jackson, to raise money for charity in a 150cc 3 wheeler rickshaw.  The Rickshaw Race started on Sunday 17th April with several dozen motorised rickshaws – locally known as tuktuks – driving from the South of India to the North taking in the Himalayas, tropical jungles and the Rajasthan desert.  A journey of 2500 miles is being undertaken in two weeks at an average speed of 25 mph allowing for monsoons and roads that are sometimes more potholes than road.


“We are paying all the costs of taking part so all the money that we raise is going directly to charity,” explained Wayne Cranwell (pictured above).  “The first is an Indian charity called Social Change and Development that strives to empower the most disadvantaged and under privileged rural communities through education, health and community projects. The second is WaterAid that provides access to safe water and sanitation.”


The team thought that they had the luck of the draw when they were given their tuktuk as it was brand new and literally still wrapped in cellophane. Unfortunately, being brand new meant that it had never been driven before and ten minutes after the start, the engine started making a nasty noise. It turned out that a bolt was missing in the engine but, being a low tech design, they were able to scavenge a replacement from the chassis and continue.  Only to have a gasket blow the next day that cost the princely sum of £1.15 to replace!


“It is a real test of initiative,” added Wayne. “You have a start point, a finishing point, a deadline and a glorified lawnmower called a tuktuk. It’s a genuine adventure not a guided tour. There are no support trucks.  If you get stuck, you have to fix it.  When you need a hotel, you have to find one.  It is daunting but we are delighted to have raised over £2000 in sponsorship already for two incredibly worthwhile charities.”

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