ADVENTUROUS Phil Billingham and Shannon Currie are world record holders – after visiting 18 countries in 24 hours.

The pair joined pals Duncan Mackenzie and Gerry Mulligan in their Vauxhall Insignia to take on the European challenge.

Starting in Poland, they drove through 16 more countries, finishing in Holland with 28 minutes to spare.

Now they have challenged the TopGear team to beat the record.

Shannon, 42, said: “We really didn’t think we were going to do it.

“The planner was telling us we would finish 17 minutes late and we were already conducting the post mortem, saying ‘if we’d done this better, or done this better, we’d have been OK’. But in the end, we got lucky.”

The team visited Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Serbia, Bosnia, Croatia, Slovenia, Italy, Austria, Germany, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, France, Luxembourg, Belgium and Holland.

The record previously stood at 17 countries. The team lost a lot of time at the Serbian border, when they misunderstood a request to get out of the car and instead drove off.

They only realised their mistake when a team of security staff started running after them, ordering them to stop.

Financial planner Shannon, from Feering, said: “All we could do was stop and put our hands up and shout ‘sorry’.”

Luckily, the team had preprepared a letter in every language they would need, explaining what they were doing.

She said: “Once the woman, who seemed to be the boss, understood, she kept telling her team ‘let them go!’ “Then as we left, she was shouting, ‘go, go, go!’”

Shannon and Phil, 53, were raising money for the Tom Bowdidge Foundation – set up in memory of the inspirational teenager, who died of stomach cancer in October.

As a team, they raised about £10,000 for their chosen charities.