It seemed like such a thoughtful birthday present, but when Button and Buncombe finally did set off for their 1000km all-terrain adventure on the Baja back in November 2019, not all went to plan.
Button and Buncombe were joined by navigator Terry Madden – an ex-military man and well known in the off-roading world – and it was a good thing too, when their truck’s differential failed.
“The Baja was tough, but we got a great story out of it at least,” says Button. “We ended up spending 17 hours stuck in the desert. We got 260 miles in and broke the diff, so it was game over. But it left us stuck in the mountains in Baja, where normal cars couldn’t get to us, so the teams couldn’t get to us and we were there for 17 hours. Stuck. Going nowhere.
“Fortunately we’d packed a lot of energy bars and water. Terry made a fire and we all just sat around it during the night as the temperature dropped to near zero. When it eventually got too cold we’d jump in the truck, start it up and be warming our hands on the engine and exhaust.
“We’d also lost communication as we’d broken the aerial so we couldn’t get in touch with anybody and the satellite radio wasn’t really working that well, but eventually we got through to somebody and they arranged for a helicopter to come and pick us up. It’s not an event we’ll forget very soon. It was mad, and quite an experience.”