Did the latest Mototaxi Junket prove it's harder than the Mongol Rally?
Our more established adventures like the Rickshaw Run and Mongol Rally need to look out, there are a couple of newcomers on the adventuring calendar looking to beat them in adrenaline fuelled silliness and vehicular absurdity.
One of the toughest of these young upstarts is the Mototaxi Junket. It's more than just an underpowered motorcycle badly welded to a bench under a flimsy canopy gently spluttering through jungle desert and mountain. The Junket is a ludicrous exercise in endurance and bravery followed by much back slapping and partying. It would take a fool to say these vehicles are better than the Indian Rickshaws and only a liar would say these roads are easier than the ones on the Mongol Rally.
Here's a selection of some of the agony and ecstasy that showcase why the Mototaxi Junket isn’t to be taken lightly.
There tend to be quite a few of them, by this we mean several a day; partly because, as we keep saying, these vehicles are shit, partly because these roads are tough, tough and steep. They are a good way of testing your resolve and either a good way to improve your mechanical skills or failing that a great way to interact with the locals.
"Sodding. Mototaxi. Engine. Third day in a row it has died. Onto our fifth mechanic and 10,000th hour of hanging about..."
"Adventure break down, 1 new engine 2 carbs 4 spark plugs 1 clutch cable 1 starter motor 1 ignition barrel 1 crankshaft 1 solonoid = new bike but it's all part of fun. On the plus were in a nice hotel with spa in tarma to make us feel better happy days ;-)"
"Bike came through relatively unscathed compared to other teams, but our issues included:
- Lost the front, and subsequently back, of the mudguard. Again, was due to giving the bike a hiding over rough ground. Caused stones, roadkill and water to flick up into the drivers face..constantly
- Worn-though clutch cable, replacement was in hand
- Because we were smacking the bike over so many ruts in the
road it caused the axle nuts to come loose . Rear wheels went completely out of alignment so that we were "snowplowing".. meant top speed was about 20kph for a day in the most difficult section of the trip, we were convinced the motor was caput until we spotted the issue. 2 min fix
- Lost (or never had) some of the bolts holding down the floor pan. Made the bike almost deafening when doing anything over 40kph. Solution, pump Drum & Bass on those Ipods at full volume to compensate
- Stripped thread on front chain tensioner caused chain to derail on critical downhill section, used rope to tension and nursed the bike to nearest roadside moto mechanic. 2min fix
- Exhaust mount broke in two, welded up in 2min by 15yo mecanic lad
- Mirrors vibrated loose, pretty much useless the whole trip
- Assorted chain derailings, had to deal with it
- Airhorns vibrated loose, had to be discarded
- Dent in canopy steelwork, roughly same shape as Scott´s head
- Brakes almost useless when wet, had to deal with it
- Lost our limo spoiler, downforce severely compromised"
Fear and Loathing in Las Selvas
Taking in desert, mountain and jungle is almost all you could ask from an adventure. If you are a bit of a wuss though you might complain the deserts are too hot, the mountains get a bit cold and that it often rains in the jungle. Obviously this is part of the fun.
"So we have made it La Oryra! What a lovely place it is (not!) Our Jungle Lodge seems so far away now. Day 5/6 gave us bad roads, day 7/8 gave us bad weather, wind, rain, hail and snow!!!!! None of these weather conditions suit a mototaxi! Especially 5 inches of snow on a 4300 mountain pass in the dark. Currently in an iternet cafe with the worst keybpard in the world. Oh and had our first taste of altitude sickness!"
What Would Ted Do 2 - Which Way North
A one wheel drive vehicle with three wheels, drum brakes and crap suspension doesn't steer well on a straight flat roads, on steep, bumpy wiggly roads...
"This single vehicle dirt track up at 3500m is classified as a 'main road' and rightly so, based on the number of trucks and buses travelling at speed along it. Nothing like a couple thousand foot drop on one side and a 10 ton truck coming at you on the other to force a quick decision. Trying not to think about it helped."
The food is great especially if you like chicken and rice, possibly less good if you are a vegetarian - or if you've got pet guinea-pigs, or even perhaps if you get upset if your food has a face.
"Eaten Alpaca for the first time, bloody good!"
"Pretty girls and meat"
Super Sonic Moto Monkies
Despite the meat heavy diet there is still lots of great animal life to keep you amused on the Junket; vultures, chupacabra, capybara, parrots, snakes, rabid dogs, tarantulas. It's a bit like going to the zoo, only with the mild threat of being bitten.
"Day 11-penultimate day? We hoped so! Until we hit another road block that left us grounded for 4 and a half hours! Another little night drive though brought tarantula's and other little beasties! Cusco tomorrow? The finish line might be in sight?"
"At 4270 meters we were meant to see dinosaurs (didn't) and possibly a shaft of holy light at our highest climb (didn't). Did see a fight between an elderly woman an a cow. The little old lady won, it was udderly terrible. We had a cattle lit memorial in the cows honour."
Super Sonic Moto Monkies
It's not all danger and fear though
The people are genuinely amongst the friendliest you will meet and they are never shy when it's time to party. When it's time for a party everyone drops everything, puts on their most colourful clobber and hits the street for some loud music and wild dancing.
And the scenery isn't bad either...
These are some seriously big landscapes made all the bigger when seen from a humble mototaxi
"The last two days on the road were high pass after high pass with breathe taking views of the snow capped Vilcabamba mountain rage standing at over 20000 feet. All this was followed by the party to end all parties, dancing, drinking much silliness and fireworks. The Adventurists really did pull out all the stops."
What would Ted Do 2 - Which Way North
- 10 Pictures
- 10 Years
- Adventure News
- Afternoon Tea
- Bicycle Racing
- Film Festival
- Guest Blog
- Hendrick's Gin
- In Numbers
- Institute Of Adventure Research
- Legend Of Adventure
- Mongol Derby
- Mongol Rally
- Mototaxi Junket
- Rickshaw Run
- Saving The World
- Space Programme
- Tale Of Adventure
- The Ice Run
- World Cycle Race