Launch Party: Sun 15th July
Launch Ceremony: Mon 16th July
Finish line opens: Friday 10th August
This year, we're moving the launch location from the UK to a top-secret location around 30 minutes west of Prague in the Czech Republic. We've secured a launch venue so astounding it's going to take you a very long time to gather together all the bits of your brain. The launch is evolving into something grotesquely and almost inconceivably incredible. A two-day festival of the the macabre. It'll be like Mad Max on steroids, like a carnival float that's crashed into a zombie infested hospital. Does that make sense? Of course it doesn't. But you, lucky Ralliers of 2018 had better get yourselves prepared as it's going to be bloody brilliant.
More details to come at a later date.
We worked out a way to save you around £1000 per team on the Mongol Rally by moving the finish line a tiny bit to the Russian town of Ulan-Ude.
For eleven splendid years the Rally spluttered and clunked over the Finish Line in the Mongolian capital of Ulaanbaatar. But, like an old pair of slippers, we felt the Rally was getting a little too cosy, that it was high time for a major shake up.
First we devolved. Then in 2015, we moved the Finish Line to Siberia.
Don’t panic. It’s still the Mongol Rally. It’s still the ultimate chaos machine. You’ll still drag and cajole your sorry carcass of a car across the dusty Mongolian steppe and vomit Chinggis Gold through your nose after a heavy session with some friendly nomads.
The only difference is that the Finish Line is in the Siberian town of Ulan-Ude, 400 miles due north of Ulaanbaatar.
‘But why Ulan Ude?’ we hear you cry.
It saves you an absolute stack of cash
Finishing here saves you about £1000 per team. Rather worth doing we think.
What with the ‘10 year rule,’ the rising cost of flights and the ceaseless march of modernity, the Mongol Rally had become a little too pricey for our liking. We yearned for the spirit of 2001, when Mr Tom and Mr Joolz trundled East with only a fistful of dollars and a hunting knife.
First we took the first bold steps in the Rally devolution, halving the entry fee and scrapping all those pesky rules about bringing new cars. To date it's even more wallet friendly. Not only are return flights from Ulan Ude several hundred pounds less than those from Ulaanbaatar, but shipping your car back from Siberia is significantly cheaper than getting the beast home from Mongolia.
Because Ulan Ude will totally rock your socks off
Ulan Ude, the capital of the Republic of Buryatia, is a splendid city with less limbless drunks and infinitely more partying options than your pickled mind can handle.
You can snort Guinness off the bar in seedy Irish pubs; dance till dawn in pounding nightclubs; pass out in grotty hostels or swanky hotels; absolve your sins with visits to buddhist monasteries and dodgy shamans; attempt some traditional wrestling; gorge yourself on greasy and utterly delicious Buryat dumplings and take a dip in the sacred waters of Lake Baikal.
On a dull yet practical level, it not only has an international airport but is slap bang on the Trans-Siberian railway.
It's a day’s drive from Ulaanbaatar
We fully intend that you still get to experience driving across the Mongolian steppe whilst being blinded by dust and listening to all the bolts in your Robin Reliant shake themselves loose. The only difference is that once you get to Ulaanbaatar you turn left and drive on to Ulan Ude. This journey is possible in a single day. Unless you really manage to bugger something up.
Of course if you’re a massive wuss or very short on time you can just go straight through Russia. But if you’re considering that, we’ll probably put on our special stern faces and waggle a disapproving finger at you.