“Neil Armstrong, that spaceman, he went to the moon but he ain’t been back. It can’t have been that good.”
- Karl Pilkington
The Mongol Rally is arguably one of the last and greatest adventures to be found on the planet today, and a great charity event to boot. The Adventurists, the event’s organisers, run the rally annually to raise money for their nominated charity, as well as those of the participants themselves.
The object is to drive 10,000 miles across a third of the planet in a totally unsuitable vehicle, travelling through loads of countries you’ve barely heard of, driven by people with minimal mechanical skills, and where the use of a map, never mind sat-nav, is frowned upon. It starts in the UK and finishes in Ulaan Baatar, the capital of Mongolia.
The inaugural Mongol Rally was in 2004 – 6 teams started, 4 finished, and in the process raised just over £3,000 for charity. In 2010, 330 vehicles took part and more than £370,000 was raised.
This is what The Adventurists have to say:-
“Imagine you’re lost in a massive desert, hundreds of miles from civilisation, driving a car your granny would be embarrassed by. Then all of a sudden all your wheels fall off and the search for tools turns up a dirty sock and two dried apricots. That’s the Mongol Rally – 10,000 miles of pure adventure over mountains, deserts and some of the most remote terrain on the planet.
“The Mongol Rally isn’t about comfort and it doesn’t have a great deal to do with style, what we seek is adventure. The whole point is that it’s difficult. Hence the one-litre rule was born. To tackle the worst roads in the world you need a chariot with an engine size of under 1 litre (ish). There is nothing like staring down the bonnet of a Nissan Micra at hundreds of miles of dirt track and foot-high rocks. You can also ride motorbikes. Of course we suggest a throbbing heart of up to 125cc, though a 50cc scooter is perfect and slightly less powerful than a lawnmower.”
We say, “It’s a huge challenge and a great adventure rolled into one. And you must need your head examining to even think of taking part.”