Late on the evening of Friday 26 July we received a call from the first team this year to complete the Mongol Rally. ‘We’re here. Where are you?Nafanchez Team asked. Indeed, it was late and we’d gone home. We certainly were not expecting them to arrive quite so early. After just 10 days on the road (including 3 nights spent at the western border) Nafanchez Team earned the title of the fastest team to ever complete the Mongol Rally.
‘It’s not a race!’ I hear you scream. And you’d be right, and it certainly is not in our nature to celebrate the first arrivals (typically we celebrate the last to cross the finish line), but there is a little more to Nafanchez Team’s story. For this team also holds the more triumphant honor of being the slowest team to yet complete the Mongol Rally after a total of 730 days since they launched from the Euro launch in the Czech Republic in 2011!
In 2011 Nafanchez Team’s Citroen C3 (rebranded a ‘Peugeot C3’ thanks to sponsorship from a Peugeot dealership) left the Euro start line in Czech Republic with just one driver. Jose had successfully wrangled holiday time from work – his team mate Javi had not been so lucky. Javi promised to work on it and meet Jose on the road. Driving slowly through Europe Jose waited for his team mate in Ukraine – but no luck. His time was running low and he had to move on to Kazakhstan before his visas would run out, so on he drove to Kazakhstan where he waited again in Astana for Javi. Sadly it was not to be Javi’s year and he did not get the time off work he needed to complete the Rally. Jose resolved to move on alone.
However, a slight miscalculation had Jose attempt to leave Kazakhstan a day after his visa expired. He was arrested by Kazakh immigration and treated to a night in a cell to think about his misdemeanor. Car impounded he was deported home to Spain with a 5 year ban from Kazakhstan, but undeterred Jose announced to his sponsors, ‘the Mongol Rally is not over. The Peugeot C3 will get to Mongolia, either next year or the year after next!’
The next Summer, miraculously (albeit a year late), Javi was awarded some holiday time so he decided to go and collect the C3 and bring it back to Spain. But what of getting it to Mongolia as promised?
Well, in early July the pair were both offered just two weeks off work. So, signing up to the Mongol Rally 2013 on the first week of July they set off for Klenova armed with nothing but their trusty C3, Russian and Mongolian visas and new team mate, Maria, they hurtled off the start line for Mongolia to arrive a mere 730 days after they started.