Cyclists press on with Italy challenge after car crash

PUBLISHED: 07:34 07 September 2017 | UPDATED: 07:41 07 September 2017

Fundraisers Emma Salter, Jake Cope, Steve Hackett and James Salter

Fundraisers Emma Salter, Jake Cope, Steve Hackett and James Salter

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Fundraisers are still determined to cycle 1,000 miles in Italy after an accident with their support van forced them to rethink their ‘grand tour’.

The van was written off but Emma Salter only suffered minor injuriesThe van was written off but Emma Salter only suffered minor injuries

Being in a right-hand-drive vehicle meant Emma Salter only suffered minor injuries in the head-on collision – but she said a smaller car could have been shunted off the road and down a sheer drop.

With the van written off and her not confident enough to get back behind the wheel, her husband James and fellow riders Steve Hackett and Jake Cope had to come with a new way to complete their challenge.

“I feel devastated,” said Sidmouth resident Emma. “We’ve been planning this meticulously for months. All the routes had been planned out. James put in a lot of effort.

“The guys have been so gracious with me but I’m effectively a spare part now.

Jake Cope, Steve Hackett and James Salter are cycling around ItalyJake Cope, Steve Hackett and James Salter are cycling around Italy

“James bought himself a VW Transporter specifically for this trip and did it up with his dad. That’s all for nothing. It’s a lot of money and a lot of time wasted

“Hopefully we can still salvage something epic. The boys are still keen to keep riding – hopefully it should still be possible.”

Emma had previously been the lads’ support rider when they rode through France and Spain, and Italy was meant to complete their list of ‘grand tours’ – rides tackled by the professionals.

After the crash, the group only managed to rent a small car and not all their gear would have fitted. It was also going to prove too costly to drive around and get different accommodation every night, so they have decided to base themselves in Tuscany for five nights and cycle around the area.

They then plan to spend a further five nights exploring the Dolomites, hoping they can still rack up 1,000 miles overall.

The group is fundraising for the Multiple Sclerosis Society as Emma’s mum Carole Swindells has the condition.

As they are not completing the challenge they set out to do, donors can claim a refund – but Emma said the opposite has happened and the total has been boosted closer to the £3,000 target since their setback.

The group can be supported at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/ciclismo-italia.

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