Riding the same Breeze S4 GT that won the BBC Top Gear extreme mobility scooter challenge, James Pagram with MS, has successfully driven for four days across the South Downs to raise over 7,000 for charity. James Pagram, 48 from Eastbourne, is an ex-London accountant who had to take early retirement due to the affects of MS. In 2012 he conceived his "101er's South Downs mobility scooter challenge" but knew he would need a model that would not let him down. As he had been so impressed with the performance of his own Breeze 4, he decided to approached TGA for support. Following discussions and meetings, TGA agreed to provide James with an engineer for the whole 2013 challenge, loan of a Breeze S4 GT and all the back-up parts and batteries required to complete this epic journey.
The proposed route both in terms of distance and off-road terrain would be an extreme test of the Breeze S4's reliability, performance and battery range. On the 9th August 2012, James set off cross country towards Eastbourne from the BMI Hospital in Winchester. Two friends on mountain bikes rode alongside James and the TGA engineer Craig Seaman drove the support vehicle between strategic points en route. The rural route crossed Hampshire, East and West Sussex and required the TGA Breeze S4 to successfully tackle slopes, rocky tracks and fields whilst keeping James stable and safe. A high comfort level was essential for James as his MS results in periods of extreme fatigue. As the Breeze is renowned for one of the smoothest rides available today, James remained alert and tiredness was minimised. As the fundraiser developed, the Breeze began to excel in the difficult conditions as James explained: "I knew the TGA Breeze was renowned for its reliability and robustness, however this challenge really underlined this reputation in my opinion. coped admirably with the really tough terrain we came across from sustained climbs to steep descents and the battery range was incredible."
The Breeze S4 GT James used was based on the best selling standard model with the addition of extra wide rear wheels, increased torque and heavy duty batteries. These modifications allowed James to drive with added traction, power and overall more confidence throughout the whole journey. He regularly achieved over 30 miles between battery changes, of which were completed efficiently by the TGA engineer. Despite Craig being available 24/7, he was only required to change batteries as the scooter developed no technical faults during this extreme journey.
After crossing the finish line on Monday 12th August at The Pilot pub near Eastbourne, James was overwhelmed with his achievement, the funds raised and the support he had received. Considering the severity of his MS, this was a massive achievement for James. He commented: "The last four days have been simply fantastic and so memorable. The support team and I are overjoyed that we have managed to raise 7,000 for the MS Society and further funds are continuing to come in. I knew it would be tough with my MS as I get so tired, however with the invaluable help of my support riders, James McIntyre and Roger Mills, alongside Craig Seaman the TGA engineer, we did it! Even when we came up against a locked gate and railway sleepers blocking our path, TGA saved the day as Craig had a set of ramps with him." James continued: "Throughout the journey there were indeed highs and lows for all of us, however we achieved our end goal and would like to thank all the people and companies who have helped us reach such a great donation total." Daniel Stone, TGA Managing Director concluded: "We would like to fully congratulate James on his remarkable achievement. Bearing in mind the affects of his MS, he has beaten the odds to complete this 101-mile challenge and raise such an impressive figure. TGA are proud to have assisted with raising funds for the MS charity as we believe it delivers invaluable support across the UK. We always knew our Breeze mobility scooter would stand up to this extreme challenge and that our engineer Craig was the perfect technical expert to support James. Well done again James and good luck with further fundraising in the future."