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Pair taking on mammoth 3,000km charity drive across the Moroccan desert

The owner of a car repair shop is teaming up with his racing driver friend for a mammoth 3,000km charity drive across the Moroccan desert.

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Andy Johnson (right), owner of Fix Auto Lichfield, and his co-driver Sam Randon with the 1987 Fiat Panda they’re aiming to ‘race’ for up to 3,000km as part of the 2024 Panda Raid annual event which gets under way on March 1

Fix Auto Lichfield owner Andy Johnson is poised to embark on the adventure with his friend Sam Randon in aid of a children’s charity close to his heart.

They will take part in the annual Panda Raid – a driving challenge described as “like no other” which attracts up to 300 classic Fiat Panda 4x4 cars from the mid 1980s.

The pair are hoping to raise as much money as possible for Carter The Brave, a fundraising group set up by close friends to raise money for the oncology ward, clinic and research department at Birmingham’s Children’s Hospital.

The whacky event gets under way from Almería in Spain starting with a ferry crossing to Nador, Morocco on March 1.

From there the route which is yet to be released will take teams through various African regions that include some of the most unhospitable driving conditions on the planet.

The race culminates in the north of Casablanca.

Andy has been told to expect to cover up to 3,000 km.

“A friend who has taken part in the Panda Raid a couple of times persuaded me to give it a go, apparently the experience is like no other,” said Andy.

"So I signed up not really knowing what I was letting myself in for. As I needed a co-driver and navigator there was only one person for the job and that’s Sam and fortunately he agreed to join me on what will be an unforgettable experience.

“I’ve bought a Panda that has competed in it twice before but, as you can imagine, we’ve had to do a lot of work to ensure it really was up to the job.

"We’ve replaced suspension, running gear and even had to buy sand skis.”

He added: “What started out as a bit of an adventure has snowballed into a fundraising drive to help raise as much as possible for the Carter The Brave fundraising group, set up in the name of a friend’s son who has battled an acute form of leukaemia to raise money for Birmingham Children’s Hospital.

"We haven’t set a target as such, but it really would be incredible to raise as much as we can for such an awesome cause.”

To support Andy and Sam, visit

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