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Destination: Freetown in Sierra Leone

Destination: Freetown in Sierra Leone

Lt Col Kenneth Bannister arrived in Gibraltar on Monday evening. His destination is one of many on his epic solo ride on his unsupported motorcycle adventure from London to Freetown in Sierra Leone. His aim `to raise funds for the King’s Sierra Leone Partnership.

He was hosted by the Gibraltar Regiment at Devil’s Tower Camp before leaving for Morocco yesterday.

Lt Col Bannister will cover 7,200 kms (1,900 of this is through the Sahara) on his Yamaha XT66OZ Ténéré, with a goal of completing at least 600 km each day at an average speed of 110kmph, a speed he calls comfortable. He needs to achieve this distance daily as he needs to return to work, therefore he aims to complete the expedition in two and a half weeks.

At the start of his journey the 600km was taking six to eight hours depending on how many breaks to rest or eat he had taken. However, as he crosses into Africa the number of kilometeres he can cover in that time frame will decrease.

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“I have done about a third of it already (the European Leg), the next third will be slower and the final third will be very slow,” he said.

“Northern Morocco will be fine, but then I start to go into Western Sahara and Mauritania which will really slow down. The final third will be Senegal, Guinea and Sierra Leone, the further south you go and hit the savanna and the tropical forests there are more people and cattle so it just slows you down,” he added.

Lt Col is not concerned about any particular risks on this journey; he has been preparing for it for three years he said but not only that he is not prepared to take any risks.

“I promised my patron who is Lt Gen Richard Nugee but before he agreed to be patron I had a half hour interview with him and convince him that I wasn’t going to die and he wasn’t going to be the patron of a funeral,” he said.

He had particular concerns regarding Mauritania. The Lt Col also notes that he has his children and his loved ones so he cannot put himself in any risk. In addition, he needs to get there so he can raise the money for the charity.

The charity aims to raise money for the King’s Hospital London to send five medical specialist to Freetown in Sierra Leone for six months. It costs approximately £10,000 each specialist.

Lt Col Bannister wants to help strengthen the Sierra Leonean medical services following the devastating effects of civil war and Ebola.

To donate you can do so via this link https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-display/showROFundraiserPage?userUrl=KSLPFundraisingExpedition&pageUrl=3 or by clicking the donate button his Facebook page www.facebook.com/kslpfundraisingexpedition

The stops on his expedition which started in London, includes France, Spain, Gibraltar, Morocco, Western Sahara, Mauritania, Senegal (he will have a bike maintenance check-up and change of tyres in Dakar), Guinea and Sierra Leone.

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Eyleen Gomez
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