Currently, the clueless, car-less and less than victorious are spread out in what promises to be a non-photo finish. Week five sees the Mongol Rally wonderfully sprawled across the landmass of Eurasia.
The earlybird teams inspired by those famous figures such as Senna, Fangio and the ghosts of famous racing drivers have beaten the odds and crossed the finishline. They tackled deserts, pot holes and the locals to now be basking in beer and a well-earned shower in Ulan-Ude. The other teams - apparently inspired more by Basil Fawlty - are spread by their curiosity across half a dozen different countries and back waters.
The Pamir highway beckons temptingly to those eager to see the finish line and a comfortable yurt. Some teams have been distracted by local foliage or fallen apart in a field, but it doesn’t matter, this is the Mongol Rally. This is where the winners don’t finish first, the points don’t exist and nobody is sure exactly where they are.
Broken, lost, happy
Paying the mechanical toll
Mechanical struggles continue to hit our noble collection of shit boxes. The less than able vehicles are starting to collapse as they stray further from the back alleys and car parks they were designed to occupy with their rampant mediocrity.
It is rumoured that the route from London to Ulan-Ude is clearly marked with a continual line of spilled pot noodles, a faint tinge of BO, the sound of 'Footloose' on the wind and some tyre marks in the sand. All these add up to stand as a monument to stupidity for all time as the Rally thunders on.
'Henriques Zee Navigators', sit stranded in Dushanbe with mechanical troubles and in true Mongol Rally spirit are blaming their mechanic. So far they have covered a whopping 10,304 km at the break neck average speed of 14.5 Kmph. At least they’re getting to see plenty of scenery. They proceed under the mantra of success through ignorance.
'The Fox Hill Billy’s' found themselves falling apart in Samarkand and decided to upgrade while repairing, because, why not?
'Fiat to Believe it' found the Pamir highway, the smoothest and easiest way to proceed, and decided to mount their car on a rock, repeatedly, damaging the front-end, again.
Rare photo of Jenny at the spa. She needed a lot of work done in preparation for the Pamir Highway ⛰. Steel sump guard, doubled-up coil suspension, new brakes, new wheels, new tires, and an oil change. Meanwhile the team took the day off and wandered around Samarkand. . . . #teamwagonna #mongolrally #overland #silkroad #rally #centralasia #mongolrally2017 #adventure #travel #outdoors #camping #vanlife #getoutstayout #discovertheroad #roamtheplanet #expeditionportal #homeiswhereyouparkit #desert #roadtrippin #wanderlust #curealzheimersfund #coolearth #charity #donate #alzheimers
Kill it with fire
Making new friends
One of the things that makes the Mongol Rally such a special event is the people you meet along the way. Sometimes it’s the ones you manage to avoid, or pay off and leave standing at a Kazakh border with a fist full of your well-earned dough.
At other times it’s the strange locals you find in a back water picking their banjo and inviting you for a canoe ride. Sometimes, like 'Team Panda' from Italy found out, it’s the family who, without speaking the same language, wine you and dine you in their Yurt.
More often than not the friends you make are the ones just as stupid and as reckless as you. Perhaps it’s the shared experience of the road or perhaps it’s the spirit of adventure that binds people together. More likely its just nobody else is quite as unwashed to want to hang out with you.
Lets have a look at the teams who have overcome each others stench to join together, for a few hours, a sponge bath, or to complete the trip together. Relying on a herding instinct that would make most bovines proud.
Who are these people and why are they in our yurt?
Convoy by land or sea, #Hopefortheherd
Other teams still struggle on alone, for the glory and for the pot holes
Distractions on the road
Whilst exploring half the world may be interesting for some, the more easily distracted of our Rally nuts have found the time to indulge in a variety of hobbies. Some stopping to smell the flowers, other stopping to smoke them.
Other distractions include spelunking in Kazakh pot holes, bird training and going full power at a Georgian Rave, no end of distractions for our space cadets.
Stop digging matey
Here we can see the rare lesser spotted tit, with eagle, perhaps try the Icarus trophy next year
J. Sherlock, bringing home a house plant for his mother
For those of you still on the road, we salute your fortitude and bullshittery. Whether you are dashing towards the finish line at less than breakneck speeds, trying to patch your ridiculous commuter back together, or simply smoking the local foliage sitting in a hole reassessing your life choices.
Still in good spirits after spending 5 days in the Pamir mountains, just a stone's throw away from Afghanistan. Tajikistan is an amazing country with amazing people, I cannot wait to come back! I will be posting pictures, but the internet is limited here, and so is power for my laptop, but here is a teaser from the Bartang Valley, more to come! . . . . #mongolrally #sharenmu #nmuadventureteam #mongolrally2017 #overland #expeditionportal #travel #adventure #camping #toyota #yaris #nofilter
We're laughing with you, promise.