Ford London - NewYork Overland Challenge
(1993 - 1994)
"One of the best thoughts of my life jumped into my head whilst flying at over 30,000 feet on a British Midland flight from Nice to London," says Richard. "The pilot had just announced we were flying over a 26 mile underwater building site, which would soon blossom into the Channel Tunnel."
As he got off the plane Richard found himself rehearsing his first pitch:
"Picture a map of the world. Home in on the UK. Channel Tunnel opening in December 1993. That means you can drive from London to Paris. Paris to Berlin is easy, as is Berlin to Moscow - I did it with my two boys last summer. There are roads from Moscow to Lake Baykal so that's easy too, and there are roads, not very good ones, from Irkutsk to Magadan at the top end of the Sea of Okhotsk. Now, there must be a way of getting from there to the Bering Straits. I know two ton sleighs have been taken across the Straits laden with goodies by the Chukchi. Once you're in Alaska it's relatively simple to get to Canada. A quick tumble and you're in the USA at the end of the first ever overland London to New York drive."
It was a relatively easy sell, after all Richard was at the time Director of Factual Programmes at Meridian Broadcasting and Director of Special Projects at Central Independent Television.
Three years later, with a budget of give or take $7 million, Richard was team leader of the Ford London New York Overland Challenge that set out from London on December 27th 1993 via the Siberian deep freeze, and across the Bering Strait to a triumphant arrival at United Nations headquarters in New York on April 5th.