Norwich man’s polar repair job

As Norfolk shivers in the cold snap, a local garage boss is mending vehicles in minus 30 degrees temperatures on a pioneering polar journey.

Pete Ash who runs the Dunkirk Garage at Aylsham and lives in Gladstone Street Norwich is part of an 11-man team trying to do the fastest mechanised crossing of Antarctica using two specially-adapted six-wheel trucks and a revolutionary propellor-driven ski vehicle.

Ironically bad weather delayed the start of their epic journey by several days, when their transport plane could not fly in from South America because of driving snow - but soon after they got under way Mr Ash's skills as chief mechanic were called into action.

The steering broke on the prop-driven vehicle, which had to be towed by one of the trucks to a make shift camp for repairs.

A weekend update report said 'the steering was quickly fixed by Pete Ash' working through the night as the expedition leaders 'looked nervously on.'

Weather was 'horrendous', with heavy snow and -30 wind chill, and journeys were taking much longer than expected.

Mr Ash prepared the trucks for the Moon Regan Transantarctic Expedition, which is seeking to beat a previous journey which took months in lumbering tracked vehicles. But the three-strong convoy is also testing the use of bio-fuels in sub-zero conditions and doing scientific experiments looking at vehicle performance and the environment along the way.

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They were due to spend 40 days travelling 3,600 miles across the ice, but are behind schedule having been due to reach the south pole on November 22.

To keep track of the expedition's progress visit www.transantarcticexpedition.com