Poles of Inconvenience

1. What are the Poles of Inconvenience?

The Mongol Rally was founded on the principle of driving tiny shit cars to totally ludicrous places. In 2022 because Russia is currently a no go area we launched the Poles of Inconvenience Rally so we can still get lost and stuck in stupid places. And it's turning out to be a beast of an adventure.

This un-route starts in Czechia and finishes in Georgia but it's the Poles of Inconvenience that really bring the stupid. Think of it is as curated network of chaos.

Instead of driving straight to the finish line you can join likeminded fools in seeking out totally ridiculous POIs along the way. Each carefully selected locational nugget of stupid will force adventure upon you and your tiny stead.

Some of the Poles may be inconvenient in the classic sense of being nestled in remote corners of wilderness areas. Others might be topographically inconvenient, like the top of a mountain, or in the middle of a sea of sand dunes in the Sahara and others will be logistically inconvenient.

It's totally up to you which POIs you tackle but your chances of winning the overall Champion of the Poles prize (and £3000) will definitely increase if you bag a few along the way.
Photo: Crossing the Tuz Gölü salt lake at sunset in Turkey by Simon Leitner
Transfagarasan look out on the Mongol Rally by Joseph Lewiston
Photo: Transfagarasan look out in Romania by Joseph Lewiston in 2016

Bagging a Pole

We’ve teamed up with our buddies at What 3 Words to provide the gears to this wondrous chaos engine. They’ve basically turned navigating the entire world into poetry. If you’ve not come across them before, stick your face in their website for a bit… We'll be sharing the official poles list in their app and for you to nail a pole to your personal wall of achievement you will need to use the photo function in their marvellous app. To prove you’ve reached one you have to take a photo inside the w3w app, tag it with (roughly) the correct location, and then share it through our tracking app. That means even if you don’t have a connection the tracking app will automatically locate your pic when it next comes online. Pole bagged. Details of all this will be in the teams handbook. To celebrate this union of geographic poetry and adventuring stupidity we've updated our logo. Doesn't that look nice.

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2. The Original Finish Line

There are actually 4 possible places to finish your Poles Rally this summer. But first let's cover of the original and main finish line...

Georgia - The Original Finish Line

Drone photo of a highway in Georgia
Mongol Rally finish line celebration
Georgia is a bloody excellent place for adventure and we’re rather excited to be hosting the finish line in this marvel of the Caucasus. This will be the location of ceremonial pomp and back slapping and spinning of wildly exaggerated tales of adventure. This is the main finish line and the one we imagine most folks to head for.

It’s open for 3 weeks to allow for all the stupid detours and we'll be staging three parties at the end of each to celebrate your adventures.

But whatever you do, don't just head straight here. Make you trip to Georgia ridiculous by heading to Morocco or the Arctic Circle - anything that doesn't make sense and is ideally ridiculous and difficult.
Lost in Georgia on the Mongol Rally

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3. Institute of Adventure Research Finish Lines

We’re keen to see the tentacles of Adventurism spread into as many corners of the available world as we can. So to that end, we’re introducing Institute of Adventure Research finish lines. If you decide to tackle one of these bad boys, we’ll issue your team with IOAR official badges and we’ll be collecting your research at the end of the trip.

These are research as finish lines so we want your help in testing them. We’ve done the boring background work, but we want you to discover just how good and what flavour of adventure they offer. Don't expect big stages and organised parties, because this is the feral end of the Adventurists stick, but do expect adventure at it's finest as you pioneer your way across the earth.

We strongly recommend you swing by the original finish line in Georgia on your way to these beasties. Especially if it’s in the wrong direction.

Sierra Leone

The African Finish and the way to put the Sahara Desert into your bag of inconvenience the Sierra Leone finish line is a gigantic slab of adventuring genius. We’re putting the actual finish line deep in the countries interior to make it as challenging as possible to reach. With roads that can swallow lorries whole reaching the Sierra Leone finish line will be no small undertaking.

After that you can head on over to Freetown to either get you car shipped back to the UK or sell, donate or scrap depending on what’s left at the end. (Right-hand drive cars will most likely be scrapped).

Uzbekistan (Pending border to opening)

The Central Asian Institute finish line opens the doorway to a world of chaos in the Stans. The Pamir Highway, crossing the Kazakh desert known as the “Steppe of Misfortune” the list of splendiferous Poles goes on.

Once you’ve clocked up your Poles of Inconvenience you can simply drop off your machine to our man in Tashkent and pay $500 for the import and scrapping process and you’re free to depart. Or just drive home.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Right this second Uzbekistan is not reachable because Azerbaijan is not yet open for business and the ferry is yet to confirm it’s running normally. However the government are planning to open up before the rally so we’re hopeful it will be a goer.

Oman

The Arabian Peninsula Finish line and the key to unlocking a whole new desert flavour of adventure. This bad boy will see you crossing the whole of Iran, catching the ferry to the UAE before crossing into the wild mountains and desert tracks of Oman. We’re finishing down in the very tip of Oman in the most excellent Salalah.

Once you’re done forcing your shit heap over some ludicrous terrain we’ve been working with the authorities in Oman to ensure you can leave your car to be scrapped and fly home. This will set you back 10% of the vehicle's value (bring some proof of purchase) which will go on taxes.

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4. The Rules

Rule 1: Small and Shit

You can take any car, as long as it’s crap and with an engine of 1.2 litre or less. Ideally under 1 litre. For motorbikes we've generously allowed 125cc, but would prefer it to be a scooter.

You need to drive a small, shit car to make the rally tougher. It's no fun if it's too easy. If you want easy go for a spa weekend. If you want to make it harder, take a small bike.

Rule 2: No set route & no support

You're on your own. If it's not dangerous and you aren't lost, you're not on an adventure. That means no backup or support. If you get stuck or in trouble, you need to solve the problem yourself. Any ‘Help! We’re broken down in Iran,’ type phone calls to Rally HQ will be met with a snort of derision and a click of the receiver.

You also choose your own route between the start and the finish including how many Poles of Inconvenience you tick off along the way.

Rule 3: Raise £500 for charity

It only seems fair that if you’re having the mother of all adventures you should give a little back, so we ask teams on the Rally to raise a minimum of £500 for the official rally charity: Disasters Emergency Committee.

We've changed the official charity this year to support their Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal. Money raised by teams on the Mongol Rally Poles of Inconvenience 2022 will go towards helping refugees caught up in the war.

If you'd prefer to raise money for other registered charities that's all good. Anything over the £500 minimum for the official charity can be donated to your own causes. And if you've already started fundraising for our normal official charity Cool Earth you can carry on fundraising for them if you prefer.

Romanian bear on the Mongol Rally by Eric Curtis Jackson
Photo: Eric Jackson in Romania, 2016
Cappadocia, Turkey by Marc Willson on the Mongol Rally 2018
Photo: Cappadocia, Turkey by Marc Willson in 2018

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5. The Dates

Make it a week-long slap in the chops or a month-long odyssey via the UK convoy, Morocco and Iran. The finish line will be open for three weeks and we're having three finish parties.

If you're short on time you can hit a handful of Poles of Inconvenience and arrive in time for the first finish line party after one week.

Or maybe you're got all the time in the world because you just got fired for taking your trousers off in the office and working in your pants again. You can do the UK Convoy, then drive to Georgia via North Africa, the Arctic Circle and southern Iran just in time for the last finish party three weeks after the launch.
11th July: UK Convoy Begins

16th July: Launch Party, Czechia

17th July: Launch Day, Czechia

23rd July: Finish Line Opens & First Finish Party

30th July: Finish Party No. 2

6th August: Final Finish Party & Finish Line Closing Ceremony

Cappadocia Turkey by Paul Cimadomo on the Mongol Rally 2019
Photo: Cappadocia Turkey by Paul Cimadomo on the Mongol Rally 2019
Rust and Dust camping in Turkey
Photo: Team Rust & Dust in a luxury car park campsite in Turkey

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6. Entry fee and what you get

Stuff

  • Rally decals for your car or bike

  • Poles of Inconvenience patch for each team member

  • Team t-shirt for every rallier

Events

  • A rolling and ever expanding UK convoy to travel to the launch in true chaotic style (and increase the chances of getting arrested for causing a vehicular public disturbance like you’ve always dreamed.)

  • The Czechout launch party in Czechia including live music, DJs and other random entertainments.

  • Free camping at the launch site on 16th July.

  • Launch Day ceremony to depart in style amidst a cacophony of noise and tiny vehicles full of like minded idiots.

  • A Finish Line stage to mark the end of your adventure and a free beer on arrival from the rally crew. Open from 23rd July through to 6th August.

  • Choice of 3 Finish Parties spread across consecutive Saturdays on 23rd & 30th July plus 6th August. You can take one week or one month for this adventure and hit a big old knees up in Georgia with other teams. The final party on the third weekend will include the prizegiving.
Waving off the teams in classy fashion at the 2017 Mongol Rally launch
Finish Line: Mongol Rally 2017

Live tracking map and coverage

  • Free tracking on the live Poles of Inconvenience may using the handy tracking app supplied by Wayward Travel (iOs & Android). Live from the start of the UK convoy on.

  • A rolling newsfeed of coverage including your teams updates and photos posted for the world to be jealous.

The Poles of Inconvenience (and Refreshment)

  • The sprawling network of carefully crafted and curated Poles of Inconvenience - or POIs - to track down on your circuitous route to the finish line in Georgia, or after Georgia on your way home if you prefer. Listed online and in your tracking app.

  • We will also select some Points of Refreshment - PORs - rally friendly establishments where you can meet up with other ralliers.
Tom Archer on the Mongol Rally in Georgia
Photo: Tom Archer in 2012 in Tbilisi, Georgia
Mongol Rally by Ben Cooke in Turkey
Photo: Winding Turkish road by Ben Cooke, 2014

Other stuff included in your entry fee

  • Free visa advice from a consultant with a decade of experience (handy if you want to bag one of the POIs in Iran

  • A team handbook full of info

  • Recommended shipping partners and options for sending your car home without you.
Tom Archer and a convoy of cars on the Mongol Rally in Eastern Turkey
PHOTO: Tom Archer, 2012 - "Heading into Turkey we joined a convoy of two other Suzuki Wagons (The Mongateers and the Yurt Locker). Below is a photo taken against a backdrop of a beautiful sunset in Eastern Turkey. It was great fun driving with these guys, it felt like being in a scene from the Italian Job."

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7. The Prizes

Every team is eligible to win one of the 2022 prizes.

2022 Poles of Inconvenience Champion

£1,500 Cash + £1,500 Adventure Voucher + Trophy

This will be judged by our expert panel of idiots and based on the tiny-ness of your vehicle, the number of POIs you reach and the level of adventuring stupidity demonstrated.

Extra points available for sartorial excellence and taking completely unnecessary large objects with you for no reason other than its funny and difficult.
D915 in Turkey by Chris Hodge on the Mongol Rally 2019
Photo: Roof riding on the D915 by Chris Hodge
D915 in Turkey by Chris Hodge on the Mongol Rally 2019
Photo: D915 in Turkey. Oof.

2022 Runner Up

£500 Adventure Voucher + Adventurists Hipflask

Three teams will receive a prize as official Runner Up for almost being a champion but not quite.
Mongol Rally 2019 Launch

Charity Fundraising Champion

£500 Adventure Voucher + Adventurists Hipflask

The team that raises the most amount of charity.
Drone photo of a highway in Georgia
Photo: Drone shot of Georgia by Alex Campbell in 2017
Transfăgărășan Highway in Romania by Eric Curtis Jackson on the Mongol Rally
Photo: Transfăgărășan Highway by Eric Jackson

Best Vehicle Award

£500 Adventure Voucher + Adventurists Hipflask

Not necessarily the smallest, although that is vital, but the most ridiculous overall including pimp jobs, modifications, paint work and other factors that will be assessed by the judging panel.
Mini on Mongol Rally with red phone box tide to the roof

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8. Official Charity: Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal by the DEC

Disasters Emergency Committee Ukraine Appeal Image
This year we're changing the official charity to the UK based Disasters Emergency Committee and their Ukraine appeal. We're asking all 2022 ralliers to raise at least £500 to help their work with Ukrainian refugees. All donations by British people will be matched by the UK Government up to £20 million.

From an update on their website on the launch of the Ukraine appeal, 3rd March 2022:

"DEC has launched an urgent appeal to raise funds to help those forced to flee their homes in Ukraine in what is predicted to be the biggest refugee crisis this century ... More than 1 million people have fled Ukraine in recent days and many more have been displaced inside the country due to intense fighting. Inside Ukraine, homes continue to be destroyed and essential infrastructure such as water supplies, hospitals and schools have been hit.

"Saleh Saeed, chief executive of the DEC, said:  “The unfolding crisis in Ukraine is horrific and heart-breaking.  And the grim reality is that it is likely to get worse.”

"The DEC brings together 15 leading aid charities at times of crisis overseas. Thirteen of these are responding in Ukraine and its neighbouring countries who have taken in refugees. Every pound donated by the UK public will be matched by the UK government through its UK Aid Match scheme up to the value of £20 million – the largest commitment ever made to a DEC appeal through UK Aid Match."

How to fundraise for the Disasters Emergency Committee Ukraine Appeal

Please use justgiving.com to set up a fundraising page in aid of DEC. If you raise money off-line and donate it directly we will ask you to provide evidence of your donations.

We ask that every team does their best to raise at least £500. Nobody is going to kick you off the rally if you don't hit the £500 target but as long as you've given it a bloody good go that's all we ask.

If every team raised £1000 we'd collectively have contributed a very meaningful chunk of money to a very worth cause.

About the Disasters Emergency Committee

From their website at dec.org.uk

When large-scale disasters hit countries without the capacity to respond, the DEC brings together 15 leading UK aid charities to raise funds quickly and efficiently. In these times of crisis, people in life-and-death situations need our help and our mission is to save, protect and rebuild lives through effective humanitarian response.

The DEC’s 15 member charities are: Action Against Hunger, ActionAid UK, Age International, British Red Cross, CAFOD, CARE International UK, Christian Aid, Concern Worldwide UK, International Rescue Committee UK, Islamic Relief Worldwide, Oxfam GB, Plan International UK, Save the Children UK, Tearfund and World Vision UK.

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