Desert voyage puts men into records book

JON WELCH Two Norfolk adventurers who crossed one of the world's largest deserts entirely by kite

JON WELCH

Two Norfolk adventurers who crossed one of the world's largest deserts entirely by kite power have gained a place in the Guinness World Records book.

Kieron Bradley, 33, and Pete Ash, 39, both of Norwich, crossed more than 1,000km (621 miles) of Mongolia's Gobi desert in specially-adapted kite buggies to claim the record for the longest-ever journey of its kind.

Their achievement in 2004 was recognised as a record last year after thorough checking and validation, but too late to appear in that edition of the book.

Leading the expedition was professor Brian Cunningham, 64, of Bolton.

Mr Ash, a father of three who owns and runs Dunkirk Garage in Aylsham, said: "I'm made up. We didn't go out to set a record, but it's put the icing on the cake.

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"When I was a kid I used to read the Guinness Book of Records - everyone wants to see who's got the longest fingernails, or whatever. Some of the records are for really daft things and others are for heroic things.

"It was an awesome experience. You get out to Mongolia and think 'crumbs, I'm here'. The hardest part was the logistics of getting there: taking all the equipment apart, packing it in boxes, putting it on a Russian aircraft and thinking 'I hope it gets there' and then getting through customs.

"Hopefully, it will inspire someone to go out and beat our record. If someone does, I want to go out there and beat them again."

Mr Bradley, a design engineer with Hethel-based Lotus Engineering, said: "I did it to achieve my own personal goal, not to preach to the world, but it's great to have set a record.

"Now I've got someone asking me to design him a machine to beat my own record. I don't mind - records are there to be broken."

Mr Bradley, also a father of three, said there were many scary moments on the voyage, including plunging over the edge of a 30m (98ft) ravine at more than 60mph, before being chased by fierce dogs.

"We were flying through the air. When we landed I thanked God I was alive - and then I saw the dogs chasing us. They're like Rottweilers on steroids - trained not just to attack, but to kill."

The trio's record-breaking trip was sponsored by the national trade organisation Network VEKA, which represents independent double glazing and conservatory companies.

The 2008 edition of

the Guinness World Records book is published this week, priced £18.

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