Belfast Telegraph

Monday 28 July 2014

Men inspired by Top Gear attempt Irish Sea crossing in Renault Laguna car

The team with their amphibious Renault Laguna during sea tests in Bangor Marina
The team with their amphibious Renault Laguna during sea tests in Bangor Marina
The team with their amphibious Renault Laguna during sea tests in Bangor Marina. PIC SUPPLIED

An audacious plan to set a new world record for the fastest amphibious crossing of the Irish Sea has been hatched by four men from Northern Ireland.

The Sir Tristram is an amphibious car devised by Peter Martin and crewed by Carl McConkey, Rick Miles and Mark Farrell.

What was once a mere Renault Laguna is now much more and has been renamed Sir Tristram after the RFA ship which served in the Falklands War.

Fitted with an outboard motor, lots of foam and a bilge pump, it’s about to take on the mammoth task of navigating the Irish Sea. The journey is 23 miles and will take about six hours to complete.

Peter (38), from Bangor, built the vehicle after watching similar daring contraptions on the Top Gear programme.

“We built one called Sir Galahad two years ago thinking that it would be easy,” he said. “It wasn’t, and it sank in four minutes. However I decided to give it another go. I’m a lecturer and had the whole summer off, and thought the idea could work.

“It will be a very challenging experience but it is going towards Help for Heroes. It deals with injured British service personnel coming back from Afghanistan.”

This is the third voyage of Sir Tris, previously she had been out on a ‘sea trial’ and then on a seven-mile trip down the coast from Bangor to the Copeland Islands

“Nearly everyone on shore thought we wouldn’t make it, but confidence rides high on the boat — at one point some of the crew even got in a little fishing,” added Peter.

It will be sold on eBay after the event. The crew have been collecting sponsorship from supporters and now they have a justgiving account at www.justgiving.co.uk/sirtristram

Sea Trial

The Copelands

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