Off to Mongolia in an old banger
July 08, 2008
TWO friends are to embark on a perilous adventure to Mongolia in a 1985 Nissan Micra.
Tamsyn Ross and Elspeth Wright, both 22, are getting ready for the Mongol Rally 2008.
But last week it seemed the trip was off when the 23-year-old car failed its MoT due to rust and two team members dropped out.
Undaunted, Tamsyn shelled out £100 to get the corrosion fixed. The Micra passed the test and she and Elspeth are carrying on with the challenge.
Calling themselves Bullet-proof Bomb, they will join 299 other teams on the starting line in Hyde Park on Saturday July 19.
The trip will involve driving across two continents, five mountain ranges, two deserts and 17 countries before ending up in Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia. But maximum engine size is one litre and satellite navigation systems are forbidden.
Tamsyn, from Farnham, said: “The hardest thing would be actually physically getting there. We’re really excited about it, but you’d be an idiot if you weren’t scared.”
In the 2005 Mongol Rally event there were reportedly arrests, bandit chases, deportations and one team were even held at gunpoint on suspicion that they were spies. Of the 43 teams that started that year, only 18 finished.
“All of our parents have offered us money not to go,” Tamsyn added. “One of our team members, Andy, was going to go, but his parents obviously offered him enough.”
The three to four-week journey will take plenty of planning, and Bulletproof Bomb are busy gathering everything they need.
Among the items they plan to take with them are a Russian phrase book, foreign money, freeze-dried food, insect repellent, tents, spare car parts, a first aid kit and anti-malaria tablets.
Tamsyn said: “The planning is going really well. We have been given a free car, and friends and family have been very generous and donated lots of money.”
The Mongol Rally was launched in 2001 when a pair of daring Englishmen drove to Mongolia in a Fiat 126.
Although they did not complete the course, they vowed to return for another try and organised the rally in 2004.
The event has been developing ever since, with last year’s Mongol Rally raising nearly £200,000 for partner charities.
Mercy Corps, the principal charity, helps rural communities and families in Mongolia through a range of economic, educational and agricultural programmes.
The partnership with Mercy Corps started at the end of the first rally. When the racing teams arrived in Mongolia they saw the work of the charity and decided to raise money for its work.
Mercy Corps fundraising director Alison Cameron said: “As a leading international relief and development charity we are looking forward to being involved again with this unique event and meeting teams whose fundraising will make a real difference to our work in Mongolia.”
For more information about the Mongol Rally, visit www.mongolrally.com.