Barnstaple couple take on 4x4 desert challenge

Barnstaple couple Mark Fairchild and Olivia Bier are pictured with Continental Tyres spokesperson Pe

Barnstaple couple Mark Fairchild and Olivia Bier are pictured with Continental Tyres spokesperson Peter Robb (right). - Credit: Archant

Local duo head to Africa in a Hummer.

The couple impressed judges in a Land Rover off-road driving competition.

The couple impressed judges in a Land Rover off-road driving competition. - Credit: Archant

A BARNSTAPLE couple are set to swap the country lanes of North Devon for the wilds of the Sahara Desert during a driving trip of a lifetime next month.

Mark Fairchild and Olivia Bier, both 32, will also take on the Atlas Mountains in a Hummer as one 14 finalists in the Conti4x4trophy.

They will cross breath-taking scenery and fiery sand dunes, navigate rocky gorges and ford spectacular rivers during the six-day challenge, run by Continental Tyres.

The duo came top in an off-road driving competition and were one of 28 pairs of drivers invited to a qualifying event at the Land Rover test track.


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Mark and Olivia impressed judges and will fly to Morocco at the beginning of September before travelling on to Ouarzazate, nicknamed ‘the door to the desert’, for the start of their driving challenge.

As part of the experience, they will stay in luxury hotels.

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Mark, a civil servant, said: “We are both over the moon and surprised to have been selected to do the Conti 4x4 trophy.

“We love to adventure and recently climbed to the summit of Kilimanjaro for charity.

“We have never completed a 4x4 event and are both looking forward to the challenge.”

Olivia added: “Neither of us have been to Morocco and are looking forward to experiencing the culture of the country.

“We expect the unexpected, heat, desert sun with hopefully little mechanical or relationship break downs.”

Peter Robb, spokesperson from Continental Tyres said: “This is truly a once in a lifetime driving experience – Mark and Olivia can expect a real challenge.”

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