The 2019 Challenge and Team

The 2019 Challenge and Team

Our Challenge

A unique Austin Seven adventure travelling from Twickenham London, to Tokyo, Japan leaving the UK in July 2019 to arrive in Tokyo for the opening ceremony of the 2019 Rugby World Cup in mid-September. A serious driving challenge for those of a truly adventurous spirit, a high-profile opportunity to promote our mighty Austin Seven to the wider world. Bonds of friendship are to be created, and further cemented throughout the journey with historic car museums, Russian rugby clubs, and Austin 7 enthusiasts in Japan. A documentary film, travel blog and accompanying book will be made to provide a lasting record of the adventure, and further the promotion of the Austin Seven.

So, a once in a life-time opportunity, with your Seven as faithful transport and social catalyst, to gain personal experience of the wonderful history, culture and natural beauty of Russia, the largest country in the world, and Japan the host nation of the 2019 Rugby World cup.

Our Expedition

  • A co-operative, self-organised and self-supported long-distance journey of immense adventure and discovery
  • Cars will travel in teams of three, supporting each other at all times, having wherever possible similar vehicle mechanics keeping tools and spares to a minimum. Weight has proven to be a serious factor on previous Austin adventures
  • Each team of cars composed of individuals with mutually agreed objectives, travel and accommodation plans
  • All participants will ensure their cars are prepared to the highest level of reliability in order to ensure completion of the distance
  • All participants will accept an area of responsibility in the planning and preparation process
  • All participants will assist in obtaining sponsorship for the project, promoting the event and the Austin Seven throughout the 18 month preparation period
  • There will be departure celebrations at Twickenham and The British Motor Museum with a later start date in St Petersburg. There will be a number of agreed rendezvous points along the route, with a deadline date at Vladivostok for the final celebratory leg on to Japan.


Simon and Jan Harding

40 years of happy marriage with children and now grandchildren all aided and abetted by “Slack Alice”. This, their well used 1928 Cambridge special, the vehicle of choice to cement their courtship in the 1970s has covered over 100,000 miles and is now joined by “BB” a 1934 Tourer for the 2019 challenge. Presently both cars resting in their Wiltshire garage, whilst two bicycles are the vehicles of choice for this dynamic duo for a short trip from John o’ Groats to Land’s End in May!

Juliet and Nick Atton

When Nick is not burrowing away in Yorkshire as a mining surveyor and Juliet occupied with her Holiday business, they find time to indulge in two shared interests. With Juliet being a qualified Yachtmaster one of these has to be sailing with the other obviously being classic cars. With their present Austin being a 1931 Ulster replica, there may be a need for a slightly larger model to carry them across the plains of Siberia?




The Blakey Family

Always up for a bit of an adventure in wild places, they are the instigators of this exciting challenge. With a long family interest in the world of Rugby, bringing together the 2019 Rugby World Cup and their mighty Seven seemed an opportunity too good to miss. They are sure that together with the great “Celebrate the Seven” team they can provide young Arthur Blakey with some memories to last a lifetime.


Jonathan and Nicolette Cole

Covering all bases is so important in any expedition and having a funeral director as part of the team certainly does that! With Nicolette as a confessed petrol head and Jonathan’s earlier driving adventure to Mongolia in a Transit van and 20 years playing with tanks, means they certainly bring a lot to the party and will be supporting the rest of the team from the UK.



“I have found out there ain’t no surer way to find out whether you like people or hate them, than to travel with them”
Tom Sawyer Abroad, 1894. Mark Twain