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English businessman to drive a Morgan 3-wheeler across India to support NGO Goonj
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English businessman to drive a Morgan 3-wheeler across India to support NGO Goonj

The Trans-India challenge aims to raise close to Rs 2 crore to support local NGO Goonj; piloted by Alan and Pat Braithwaite, the Mogan 3-wheeler will be driven 5600km across India

By Suvrat Kothari

Published on :
English businessman to drive a Morgan 3-wheeler across India to support NGO Goonj

73-year-old Alan Braithwaite is determined to create a difference in rural India. Despite the set-back of an open-heart surgery, the UK-based philanthropist and businessman will undertake the Trans-India Challenge by driving a Morgan three-wheeler 5600km across the length and breadth of the Indian heartland, starting February 1. The aim is to raise funds for popular Indian NGO Goonj.

Why the challenge?

According to a report, about 61 million people across India are living under financial poverty. At the same time India is becoming increasingly urbanised leading to 2.5 lakh tonnes of waste generated by Indian cities daily. That means the rise of a ‘disposable society’, where it becomes easier to throw away and replace items than repairing or reusing them. The Trans-India Challenge aims to channel this urban discard to not only reduce its environmental impact, but also to improve living conditions in the villages. The discard is used to generate income directly or improve health and welfare and Goonj is the NGO that leads the way when it comes to developing this model of ‘circular economy’. Funds raised by Alan and his team will go directly to academic research aimed at proving the benefits of this model and providing new evidence that will support the work of Goonj and similar organisations in the ‘circular economy’ and social regeneration sectors.

Alan’s steed, a Morgan three-wheeler

5600km through central India will be a tough challenge and Alan would ideally need a car that can snake through maddening Indian traffic and endure the poor road conditions. His choice though was rather unusual as he opted for a Morgan three-wheeler, an open top two-seater with absolutely no luggage capacity (there will be a support car, of course). The Morgan three-wheeler carries a legacy of over a century on its shoulders. It was designed and hand-built by 1909 by Malvern-based engineer Henry Morgan and since then it has become a legend in the world of classic cars. Morgan continues to hand-build instantly-recognisable cars at the factory in Malvern, with a new range being introduced to celebrate the company’s 110th Anniversary.

Not that it matters on a fund-raising drive but its interesting to know that the Morgan is powered by a 1983cc Harley-Davidson V-twin engine that churns 82bhp and 140Nm of torque. It can sprint to a 100kmph in just 6 seconds and is capable of achieving a top speed of 185kmph. Helping it achieve these figures is the fact that it just weighs 525kg. The belt-driven car channels power to the single rear wheel via a five-speed transmission from the Mazda MX5.

The route

Alan commences his journey on February 1, starting from Mumbai and driving through Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, New Delhi, Rajasthan and Gujarat before concluding the drive back in Mumbai. Along the way, the team will be stopping at towns and rural communities that have benefited from Goonj’s work and become self-sufficient as part of India’s ‘circular economy’. This daunting trip will be supported by a small team of mechanical, endurance driving, medical and video/media specialists.

Members from Team evo India too will join Alan for a small part of his journey and we will bring you fresh updates from the drive. Stay tuned.

Know more about the Trans-India Challenge here

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