Brit European played a starring role in helping motorcycle racer and truck mechanic Guy Martin meet his latest Channel 4 challenge, which saw him reconstruct a World War One British Mark IV tank and operate it in a re-enactment of its first battle.
Guy Martin’s: First World War Tank, highlights the role these tanks played when they were deployed en masse at the battle of Cambrai on 20 November 1917 - an engagement that marked the birth of modern conventional warfare.
Using an Iveco Starlis and a Broshuis 3 axle low loader trailer, Brit European transported the tank chassis from JCB’s site in Rocester, Staffordshire, where it had been built, to the Norfolk Tank Museum.
Two months later, once Guy Martin had fitted the engine, gearbox, controls, interior, turrets and tracks to the tank at the National Tank Museum site, Brit European was commissioned by North One TV to transport the 30-tonne finished machine to Ribecourt la Tour, Villers Plouich, one of the many battle sites in Cambrai (pictured left).
Brit European, which used Convoi Exceptional to help it plan the full route and provide a pilot car, had to overcome a number of challenges to get its cargo to the battle site in time for filming.
Ed Beresford, Brit European business development head, told MT: “One of the major challenges we had was that we were not allowed to use the motorway network (in France) due to there being an HGV restriction and to make matters even more difficult the ban for HGV vehicles using any roads in France (on Remembrance Day) came into effect at 12 noon on Friday 10th November.
"What would normally be a 2 hour journey from Calais to Cambrai actually took 6 hours and we made it by about 30 minutes.”
Guy Martin said: “I won't ever forget driving this incredible tank across the historic battlefield on such a significant day. It was a very emotional experience as we stood quietly and remembered those who died at Cambrai.'
Guy Martin’s: First World War Tank was first shown on Channel 4 on 19 November, to mark 100 years after the tanks first went into battle. It is available to watch on Channel 4's on demand service, All 4.