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Smart car wins the Cannonball Run

David Ward and Adrian Hull pose alongside their Cannonball Run winning smart fortwo BRABUS

Amazingly, a five-year-old, second-hand smart fortwo recently beat a huge collection of supercars in the Cannonball Run, the 3,000-mile dash across Europe that’s inspired by the famous 80’s film starring Burt Reynolds.

David Ward and Adrian Hull’s smart fortwo BRABUS was the smallest car in the 40-vehicle field.

The event, which started at Sandown Park and went through France, Portugal and Spain and finished in Brighton, saw the duo awarded first place for completing the route at the exact stipulated requirement of an average of 61mph.

The performance version of the smart range, which features a 700cc, 74bhp, three-cylinder turbo engine, is capable of 53.3 miles per gallon combined – which helped the car to spend less time at the petrol pumps than its thirstier rivals.

“The downfall of the bigger cars was that they were forced to stop so often, so while they kept overtaking us, we eventually went past them at the next petrol station when they needed to fill up again,” said David, who runs an estate agency in South Woodford. “We kept at a decent speed and still averaged around 35 miles per gallon.”

What made David and Adrian’s victory even more remarkable was the fact that their smart has all of its original specification apart from a re-mapping kit and upgraded suspension. Competing in their first event of this kind, they were also the only entrants without an in-car satellite navigation system – preferring a traditional European road guide instead.

“Having entered for fun and to raise money for the NSPCC, it’s fair to say that we were surprised to win and I suppose there is a ‘David and Goliath’ element to our victory,” admitted David. “I think the other drivers initially thought it was a hoax that a smart had entered but they gave us more and more credit as the week went on and, at the end, they were genuinely pleased that we won.

“Whilst I think I’ve converted quite a few of them to the merits of smart ownership, the event has just strengthened my admiration for the car,” added David. “The ride and economy are outstanding, you can park it anywhere and there is room for my golf clubs – it’s just a great little car.”

David and Adrian have automatically gained entry into next year’s Cannonball Run but are now planning further adventures in their smart car including next year’s Gumball Rally from Los Angeles to Miami and a drive from Land’s End to John o’Groat’s in just 12 hours.