FOUR motor-mad friends had a marvel-lous time when they crossed land and sea to raise money for a charity close to their superhuman hearts.

Richard Pinkney, Sean Kell, Lee Valentine and Carl Sams transformed themselves into some of Marvel’s most famous comic book characters for the Benidorm or Bust 2017 rally.

Dressed as Iron Man, Hulk, Captain America and Thor they hit the road in a cut price old limousine which they had pulled apart and spent two long nights rebuilding based on the theme.

With Marvel mannequins bursting from the boot and bonnet, the team hit the road in Durham on Tuesday, bound for Dover where the challenge officially started with a Channel crossing on Wednesday.

Drivers then travelled through Calais and along the French coast to Rouen, where the North-East foursome needed a police escort the wrong way down a bus lane after they got lost.

Next they headed for Bordeaux then crossed into Spain and on to Zaragoza on day three.

On the fourth and final day of the epic road trip- 1,600 miles and six tanks of fuel later- they arrived in the sunshine resort of Benidorm.

The crew’s relief at making the finish line turned to elation when their bespoke set of wheels and outfits earned them the coveted prizes of best car and best costume from a field of 156 teams.

Mr Pinkney, 48, of Tow Law, County Durham, said: “The idea for our theme came out of trying to do something that hadn’t been done before and do it as good as it could possibly be done, once we started it just escalated.

“The journey has far exceeded our expectations and created some lifetime memories, we could never have wished for more.”

And to top the adventure, generous supporters helped Team Marvel-Us raise more than £2,400 for Diabetes UK- seven times the £330 target they set at the start of the journey.

The four men became friends through a mutual love of autotesting and had discussed the annual driving challenge many times.

This year Mr Kell, 39, owner of The Feed Warehouse in Consett and Durham, bit the bullet and signed them up.

Mr Pinkney, who runs Pinkney Construction, said: “Sean decided to just book it without consultation so it had to happen.

“My 14-year-old son Cameron was found to have type 1 diabetes in May 2015 so we thought it would be good to raise money for Diabetes UK given that it was so close to our hearts.”

The two, along with Mr Valentine and Mr Sams, both from Newcastle, thanked supporters. They can still be sponsored online at