Harrogate to Ulaan Baatar by Corsa

Chris and Oli signed up to drive from Goodwood race circuit to Ulaan Baatar in Mongolia this summer. This is Chris’s account of the build up to their participartion in 2010 Mongol Rally.

January is a boring month. Boredom tends make people do some slightly silly things. In our case sitting around in front of a computer thinking of things to do to keep you occupied has lead to signing onto the 2011 Mongol rally. And no, that is not a typo. We genuinely signed up to register interest in the rally next year but somehow due to a combination of luck and Oli’s ineptitude with technology we received an e-mail less than a month later congratulating us. Telling us that our patience had been rewarded and we had “won” a place on the 2010 rally, 5 months after the entries had closed and therefore 5 months behind everyone else in terms of planning. As if that wasn’t enough we were not students doing six hours work a week with almost unending time to devote to fundraising and vehicle preparation. No. We were 2 young professional individuals early in their careers both working well over the standard working week. This would make planning difficult. No, scratch that. Nigh on bloody impossible. And had we mentioned that we actually live 100 miles apart.

All the more impressive then that I sit here typing as we are driving to the ferry having just set off from Goodwood and the festival of slow safe in the knowledge that despite our fears about our lack of preparation we are in fact one of the more suitably equipped vehicles on the trip. I think a modicum of smugness is an appropriate way to describe how we felt until the instant we exited the race circuit and started to get a waft of an as yet undiagnosed burning smell. Only time will tell how significant it is.

Generous sponsors

The preparations have all been stressful last minute affairs from the acquisition of transport to the blagging of spare parts which was only completed about 2 hours before Chris sallied forth from fair Harrogate. As a result many nerves have been frayed and some years possibly chopped off our life span. In fact it only dawned on us as we were driving into the circuit that we would actually have to drive across the better part of half the land mass of the earth and that the planning was all over now and it was time to see if we were really up to it or just all mouth and no trousers.

Speaking of trousers, those which we are both currently sporting are the very lightweight and utilitarian Rohan Ultimate Cargo trousers which have swallowed all my cash, two mobile phones, the sat nav, wallet and passports and some loose change which will very soon be of similar use to that of a chocolate teapot.

We would never have been ready, or at least as prepared as we are had it not been for some very generous sponsors donating an awful lot of our kit. Chief among these kind donors have been the good folks at Rohan in Harrogate.

From the start Rohan have been the most enthusiastic of all our sponsors providing not only a full getup of kit from their impressive range but also help, advice and support even to the extent of putting us in touch with previous rallyers for a bit of experience and guidance.

Read more about the team and track their progress on teamfiftyfive.com.

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