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From Goodwood to Russia: 950 racers, 330 vehicles drive for charity

2017-08-10 07:37

David Ferguson

Image: Supplied

England - Touted as ‘the greatest motoring adventure on the planet’, the Mongol Rally has been running since 2004, with the 14th edition of the race taking place at the famous Goodwood race track.

950 participants 

About 950 participants took part of the event on July 16, in around 330 vehicles including the event’s first ever fully electric car. Also, 44 different nationalities were represented, including those from Paraguay, Bosnia, Malaysia, Japan and Chile.

The aim of the rally is to travel from Goodwood to Ulan Ude in Russia, with a drive through Mongolia and a few organised ‘pit stops’ along the way – one couple even stopped by Lake Bled in Slovenia for their wedding.

Starting the race, no back-up, support or set route were provided, with past teams having traveled as far south as Iran and Pakistan, and others venturing into the Arctic Circle. 

Follow the 2017 Mongal Rally live here.

Image: Supplied

The fact you’re likely to get lost and end up in a few sticky spots is all part of the experience though, as The Adventurists, the organisers of the event (and a whole host of other incredible adventures including the iconic Rickshaw Run in India, the World’s longest horse race and the first long distance Paramotor race) explain…

"We believe the world is far too safe and organised, that we’ve come to live in ever decreasing circles of freedom. 

“Fear of litigation, greed and a spineless refusal to take responsibility for ourselves have robbed us of one of the most interesting things in life: the unexpected. 

“The Mongol Rally rails against this. It forces you to be lost, to not know what’s around the next corner, to embrace the unknown.”


The real spanner in the works is the fact you have to do The Rally in the ‘crappest’ vehicle you can find, with any engine size no bigger than 1000cc (you might twist the organisers' arms to allow you 1.2 litres if you find something ‘really special’).

If you think all this sounds a little too silly to be a real adventure, think again. With the Rally travelling around 10 000 miles across the mountains, desert and steppe of Europe and Asia, the nature of the route and the vehicles used forces participants to really experience the land and cultures they’re travelling through.

It’s hard to find another organised event that guarantees adventure and mishap on such an epic scale.

The Adventurists says: "What would be the point of whizzing through these landscapes at 160km/h in a sterilized 4x4 and not being able to truly experience what they’re all about? 

"There’s nothing like a little mishap in the back end of nowhere to experience something truly memorable.” 

Image: Supplied

Views from past participants…

"Top Mongolian day yesterday - good carriageways, good camels, good cricket, good campfire.”
"Where's the fun in knowing what to do? Speed head-first into the unknown. That's my motto from now on."
"We eventually crossed the border at night, but not before a border guard had proposed to Steph (she said she’ll think about it).”
“Freezing cold camping in the desert wearing all the clothes we own. None of them are clean. Everything is covered in dust, haven’t showered in six days. (Honestly, we stink). Driving at 20km/h on glorified goat tracks. Getting bogged in sand and mud. Two flat tyres, one emergency wheel repair, countless attempts to drive through rivers watched by curious camels. But at least we have Vegemite”

 “We’ve been home for 24hrs now. Things still feel a little strange, we find ourselves wondering if we are driving on the right side of the road. We don’t need to barter for our purchase anymore, the supermarket was massive and we didn’t have to pay with crazy money.”

The rally gives back to some of the countries and environments it travels through with this year’s participants raising over R1 million for the Cool Earth organisation. 

Follow the 2017 Mongal Rally live here.

The Rally also gives back to some of the countries and environments it travels through and The Adventurists, through The Mongol Rally and other adventures, have so far raised over eight million pounds for charities worldwide.

This year’s participants in the Mongol Rally have already raised £58 000 for Cool Earth, The Adventurists official charity, and tens of thousands more for other charities close to entrants hearts - particularly noteworthy is terminal cancer survivor Adam Alderson raising funds for Macmillan Cancer Support and the Steve Prescott Foundation after having survived a 17 hour operation and multiple organ transplants. 

Track the teams and keep up to date with their mishaps here.

For more details or to sign up for next year’s Mongol Rally visit the Mongol Rally website.

Image: Supplied

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