A CLASSIC car enthusiast has challenged the man in charge of Essex’s roads to drive around Mersea Island...without damaging his Rolls Royce.

John Gradwell laid down the gauntlet for Rodney Bass after a pothole in Upland Road caused £880 damage to his car – and Essex County Council denied liability.

Retired teacher Mr Gradwell now says Rolls Royce owner Mr Bass, known for his love of classic cars, should drive through the pothole at 25mph.

He has also challenged him to drive around the island on a motorcycle at 25mph after midnight, when most of the street lights are turned off, to showhim how unsafe the roads are.

Mr Gradwell, 61, of Richmond Road, said: “The ball is in his court – £880 is a lot of money for anybody and I would like it back.

“The fact is, this very second someone could be injured on the road or, without being over the top, killed. Many road surface conditions in Essex force drivers to change speed and direction in an unpredictable and, quite frankly, potentially lethal manner to avoid the sort of surface damage I experienced at less than 30mph.

“There are very nasty holes in the local roads that allow speeds of up to 60mph."

See Thursday's Gazette for more