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The 2CV Alaska Challenge

Newspaper and Television Coverage

The run-up to The 2CV Alaska Challenge, and the main event itself, were covered by more than 60 newspapers, both in the UK and in North America, as well as TV and radio stations.

This page contains a small selection from this media coverage and some background to the publicity. There's also a sound file, The Ballad of Andre the Mountie, which was the official song of the Alaska trip.

Central TV News clip, June 13th 1999. MPEG file, large size. (includes Rob being interviewed live to camera and Andre the Canadian mountie; which probably makes it one of the most surreal news clips ever to be broadcast)

The Calgary Herald, August 17th 1999. (see Alaska Challenge Bulletin No.13)

The Exeter Express & Echo, May 24th 1999. (Rob & Jose)

The South London Mercury, May 12th 1999. (Rob)

The Slough Express, May 6th 1999. (Jose)

The Yukon News, August 30th 1999. (see Alaska Challenge Bulletin No.18)

I must have been bloody mad...

The 2CV Alaska Challenge was never conceived as a charity event. It was more a "let's drive a Citroen 2CV to the Arctic Ocean in Alaska just for the hell of it" kind of thing. However, late in 1998, with the Alaska trip already in the advanced stage of planning, my dear Mother suggested using it to raise some money for charity. Ok, why not. My younger sister, Sarah, suffers from Crohn's Disease, and Jose used to work for the Samaritans, so we thought we'd raise money for these two causes.
Of course, Rob's the shy, retiring type, and would never seek publicity for any of his ventures, but he was forced into it because the 2CV Alaska Challenge was now raising money for charity; and so throughout the Spring and early summer of 1999 there were a number of publicity tours all over England in partnership with the Samaritans and the NACC, the National Association for Colitis and Crohn's disease.

Hey, mate, it's for chaaarity!

Jose and Rob took part in the publicity tours, and also Andre the Canadian Mountie (an out of work actor from south London who happens to be Rob's cousin), who was the mascot of The 2CV Alaska Challenge and also the inspiration behind the official song of the trip, The Ballad of Andre the Mountie, which we recorded in a converted pig shed in the Welsh hills.
We drove the highways and bi-ways of England's green and pleasant land, from Yorkshire to Cornwall, from Wales to Kent; hundreds and hundreds of miles under blue skies with the hood rolled back on the 2CV. Some days, we'd have as many as five different press engagements in five different towns. Some days we'd just find a pub somewhere and get drunk. It was all dreadfully surreal and at times all of us were badly in need of a reality check; but hell, who needs reality...

Postscript...   the publicity did not end with the 2CV Alaska Challenge. Rob stayed on in North America and for a number of months afterwards he and the car continued receiving newspaper coverage, right up until a final photo shoot with the Winnipeg Sun at the end of November 1999.

In early December 1999, Rob arrived in Paris after taking a cheap flight from Montreal. He was penniless and had only the clothes he was standing up in. Jose came to the rescue with an emergency money wire. This enabled Rob to take a ferry back to England, where he arrived in Dover in the early hours of the morning of 5th December, and where he discovered that there was a warrant out for his arrest. Click Here to see the final piece of publicity to come out of The 2CV Alaska Challenge.


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