The Mongol Rally isn't for everyone; dangerous, unpredictable and often uncomfortable, for many people it fits closer to the definition of torture than fun.
The Mongol Rally by bike then is all those things amplified; your chance of getting hurt are much higher, your vulnerability heightened, the physical demands much greater not to mention you've got much less room for kit. Little wonder than that each year on the rally there are fifty cars to each motorbike.
But because it's tougher, its more of an adventure. And the chaps that do the Rally by bike are a special breed. Tenacious, fearless, perhaps even a little foolhardy. They are the ones with the best stories by the end. Here are some of the bikers from 2015.
David & Jamie - The Iron Badgers
David has been riding a rather splendid Moto Guzzi V7 Scrambler for the last 3 years. To get some mechanical knowledge for the Rally he has also built a custom 125, which he will be giving away to raise funds for the adventure & his chosen charity.
David has ridden through the Himalayas on a Royal Enfield and with teammate Jamie, has ridden most of Vietnam. Since returning from the Himalayas he has taken the Guzzi for some off road trips too and track racing too.
The Iron Badgers are planning to take the Southern route. They're still shopping for bikes.
Phil Chapman - Fat Man on a Small Bike
The bikers on the Rally are brave but none so more than Phil. Phil knows firsthand how dangerous the Rally by bike is after taking a tumble on the 2014 Rally, breaking a thumb and ejecting a kidney stone which caused him to retire. We lauded his achievements as a Mongol Rally cheapskate when we found that the efforts cost him just £67 (and a less than comfortable trip to the hospital).
For the 2015 Rally he'll be riding a Honda XR125 which he'll be taking the northern route to get properly stuck into Siberia. While Phil never made it to Mongolia last attempt he should take comfort from the fact that his bike did, having ridden there (and back) with its previous owner.
When he's not on the Mongol Rally Phil rides a Ducati Darmah.
Matt & Pete - The MongolRoos
Matt and Pete are riding the Rally on a pair of '88 MZ 250s.
Although Matt has 15 years of dirt bike riding under his helmet he's not ridden more than a couple of hundred kilometres at a time. Pete has taken his ETZ 250 for a 500km trip through the outback. Compared with most bikers who take on the rally that makes them seasoned pros. Which will be handy when they take the southern route through Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan.
Aside from the ETZ 250 Pete rides a BMW 650. Matt's daily ride is a KTM 500 EXC.