We don't applaud the teams that arrive first on the Mongol Rally. Quite the opposite in fact.
Imagine our indignation then, when Jonathan Tucker and Charlie Barder from team 'Driven to Distraction' arrived a whole day before the finish line even opened. Our tutting could be heard from Moscow.
Annoyingly though, they're interesting, considerate, polite and generally bloody lovely. They also bought us beer, but that has absolutely nothing to do with superlatives. Honest.
Equally annoying was the fact they had absolutely no issues whatsoever except getting stuck in some deep sand in the middle of the Mongolian desert. Thankfully a waving of some cash to some locals soon fixed that. Well, no problems until just now anyway.
"We drop off our car at the railhead and think, that's it. 8,400 miles completed and our luck has held the whole way without even a flat tyre.
We order a taxi back into town and after just a few minutes it crashes into the back of another car at around 20 mph.
No one was injured but the taxi engine and bonnet were badly damaged and the blond, glamorous Siberian lady driver of the car in front was not at all happy."
Ah well, that's more like it.
After the second beer they bought us we warmed to them further when we found out that it was due to pesky work commitments that they had to hurry. "We haven't seen anyone since Prague, about three weeks ago and we did three solid weeks of 14 hour days."
We tried to convince them they should have quit their jobs, and they very nearly listened.
So, any bickering? "Well, considering we spent the last month sat two feet from each other we got on very well. I, of course, let him (Charlie) win all the arguments." A wise man. Due to their mammoth fundraising efforts they were also the proud winners of a mega-limited, custom-engraved Minirig Speaker at the launch which apparently also helped. "There were times we may have ripped each other apart if we couldn't drown each other out with the music".
The fact that these two endearing older gentlemen managed to complete the Rally without needing new hips is pretty impressive. What's even more remarkable though is the cash they've managed to raise for charity. Hold onto your toupees, because they've so far amassed a whopping £13,000, split equally between the wonderful Cool Earth and the equally wonderful Child Bereavement UK, Doctors Without Borders and Mary's Meals. Bloody, bloody good show.
But how did they raise so much? Charlie explains: "We're old, and so know more people, and generally older people have more money and aren't as scared to part with it as they might die soon anyway." Seems simple. Jonathan embellished: "We just continually pestered the hell out of absolutely everyone we knew until they relented." That's the way, bullying.
Apparently they said the more familiar your sponsors are, the harder you have to push: "The guy that was my best man hasn't even donated yet!" said Charlie. Shame on you sir. Unless you're saving the pennies until their glorious return. Yes, that must be it (it'd better be).
Gentlemen, we salute you and begrudgingly yet heartily congratulate you on being the first over the line here at the Mongol Rally 2017 finish line in Ulan Ude.
So, just about 294 teams left to come...piece of cake.
Track the teams still on the road HERE.
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