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The Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation

UK Garage and Bodyshop Event team take on the Emerald Isle for Ben Automotive

Date: Friday 22 September 2023

The UK Garage and Bodyshop Event (UKGBE), presented by Automechanika Birmingham, has announced its team for this year’s hotly anticipated Bangers4Ben rally, as the team, dubbed the Dublin Driving Dolls, take on the Emerald Isle.

The 2023 edition of the madcap rally is being held from 7th to 10th October in Ireland, with all participants travelling 1,500 miles over four days in their very own ‘bangers’ – all of which cost less than £750.

UKGBE has partnered with LKQ Euro Car Parts and established aftermarket business owners Louise Baker and Rachel Murray, as they gear up for this year’s challenge, starting from Holyhead to cross the Irish Sea to Dublin, hitting the winding roads of Ireland, before completing the tour back in Dublin to board the ferry home to Blighty.

In 2019 Automechanika Birmingham put together a team of Louise and Rachel, with support from Messe Frankfurt, organisers of both Automechanika Birmingham and UKGBE, on logistics and costs. The duo returns for 2023 in their ‘new’ banger and will be joined by Alex Jones, marketing director at Messe Frankfurt UK, organisers of Automechanika Birmingham and UKGBE, plus Karena Shahid, regional account manager at LKQ Euro Car Parts.

Last year saw Louise and Rachel join Automechanika’s team, as they hit the roads of Europe in their ‘banger’, driving from Birmingham to Monaco and back, raising a whopping £3,000 for automotive mental health charity, Ben.

The duo are ready to hit the roads again this year, alongside Alex and Karena, with the team purchasing a Citroen car for the trip, which will be decorated in a very on-trend Barbie theme.

Bangers4Ben was created to raise essential funds for the charity; all entrants are required to pay a £1,050 entry fee and buy a car for less than £750. Teams are encouraged to participate in fancy dress and decorate their vehicles whatever way they’d like.

All cars will then be auctioned off after the mission is complete to raise even more funds for the charity.

Louise owns independent garage, Womanic, which she opened in 2016, and has over 20 years of experience ‘on the spanners’. Rachel is a 25-year-old, freelance refinisher specialising in the automotive industry, as well as having experience in marine, commercial and domestic spraying.

Both Louise and Rachel, as well as Alex and Karena, are passionate about the sector and promoting the automotive industry to the next generation, as well as breaking down the stigma against mental health in the industry.

All are also strong advocates for diversity, particularly women in the industry and are excited to don their fancy dress and go on the journey off a lifetime in their very own ‘Barbie mobile’.

Karena says:

“I’m thrilled to be part of the Dublin Driving Dolls team for Bangers4Ben 2023, joining a fun bunch of ladies to raise money for charity and having a good laugh along the way – what’s not to love?”

Alex Jones comments:

“Joining Bangers4Ben provides us a great opportunity to support the mental health charity community and also celebrate a more diverse workforce. Us Driving Dolls are on a mission to promote diversity in the industry.”

This year the rally will again be run by Automation Events in support of Ben.

You can donate to support Automechanika Birmingham’s Dublin Driving Dolls team here: