Drivers set off on Asia-London adventure

British driver Phil Meredith, top, with the help of partner Phil Colley, is planning to be the first person in the world to cross the Asia-Pacific Highway in an effort to raise road safety awareness.


Trail-blazing Brits Richard Meredith and Phil Colley set off from Tokyo on June 25 at the wheel of an Aston Martin V8 Vantage, with their satellite-navigation system set for London’s Trafalgar Square.

They are aiming to become the first people in the world to cross the full extent of the Asia-Pacific Highway, while bringing attention to road safety and raising money to increase road safety awareness among children in developing countries.

Their 16,000-kilometre journey in the factory-prepared V8 Vantage takes them through 16 countries, including South Korea and China.

At times they will face inhospitable terrain, intransigent bureaucracy, intense heat and a variety of other difficulties, which will test them and their near-standard car to the limit.

Dr. Ulrich Bez, Aston Martin’s CEO, said: “Richard, Phil and the V8 Vantage face a tough journey, but I have every confidence all three will succeed.”

Richard, a 58-year-old teacher who lives in Newport Pagnell, Buckinghamshire, said: “I have dreamed of making this journey for two years.”

Londoner Phil, 42, a travel specialist and tour operator, said: “We are proud, in our small way, to be joining in the effort of focusing attention on road safety among the young.”

The trip has attracted the support of the regional commission of the United Nations and a variety of international companies, and a team based in the U.K. has been set up to monitor progress and organize help if it is needed.

The pair first met in 2004 when they planned to navigate the full length of the Yangtze river across China, but had to abandon the project when the tsunami struck southeast Asia. Richard and Phil are scheduled to arrive in Trafalgar Square on Aug. 13.