We couldn’t have asked for a more extraordinary send-off for The Last Overland Team on Sunday. The convoy that formed behind the 64-year-old Oxford car set a new Singaporean record for the most Land Rovers ever gathered in one place (95!). Roads were closed and police riders set the pace as Oxford thundered towards the first border crossing – now that’s how to start a journey…
A huge thank you to all the Land Rover owners and spectators who came down to wish us well. As Nigel Newbery of the First Overland said on stage in Singapore – “we didn’t quite get a crowd like this when we set off in 1955!” You can relive the moment here on Channel News Asia.
Amid the happy chaos of Sunday’s Flag Off came some sad news. TLO’s dynamic talisman, Tim Slessor – the man whose dream to relive the adventures of his youth brought us all together – was suddenly taken ill in Singapore hours before the Flag Off. After making an astonishing recovery from recent surgery, he was in Singapore ready to join the start of the expedition he had inspired.
Sadly, life often doesn’t follow the fairy tale script, and Tim was forced to change his plans and sit out the start. However, we can now share the good news that he’s been cleared by the doctors to return to the UK, where he’ll be recuperating until he can rejoin the expedition. Yesterday he recorded a message for his fans in Malaysia, and we wanted to share it with you all first.
All of us on the TLO team are badly missing him as we journey on (Tim wouldn’t stand for any dithering). If you’d like to send a get well message to Tim, Oxford’s owner/restorer Adam Bennett is kindly offering to forward letters to him:
Tim Slessor c/o Adam Bennett, 58 Gillygate, York, YO31 7EQ England UK
In the meantime, Oxford’s door remains slightly ajar for Tim to join whenever he’s ready. (It’s currently letting in the monsoon rains in Thailand, so please hurry up Mr. S!)
But as Tim would say himself, the show must go on! And what a show it’s been. With Tim’s grandson Nat carrying the family torch, the response to Oxford and our team in Malaysia and Thailand has been phenomenal. We’ve been carried through the first few hundred miles of our journey on a wave of hospitality and good will. We never expected quite so many police escorts, free lunches and photo sessions!
Luckily some of our fans in Malaysia have already made a highlights reel of our visit to what they call “The Land of the Land Rovers”, which you can watch below. It just goes to show how the spirit of adventure (and the love of these wonderful old cars) is something that unites us all.
Today Oxford is speeding through southern Thailand (where the First Overlanders really struggled for any proper roads!), and the convoy is working hard to keep up. The Doc seems to spend an inordinate amount of time greasing her nipples each morning, but Oxford’s happily chewing up the miles so it must be doing some good.
In a few days time we’ll be reaching Bangkok, and then onwards into Burma – a place dear to many in our team, as it is to Tim.
Until then – keep on rolling!
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