The 2017 Mongol Rally of madness and debauchery has finally, sadly, come to a close. 240 of the 296 starters made it triumphantly across the finish line. Limping, bruised and some far from sober they arrived in Ulan Ude to thunderous applause and congratulations at their daring refusal to admit the shite'ness of their own vehicles.
This year’s Mongol has been a squelching success with most of our teams making it, and all of our teams having a bloody good time along the way. As well as some casual brushes with death and the odd horse through the windscreen.
So now it’s time to sit back on your laurels, put your grimy steppe-smeared feet on the dashboard and chuckle about the insanity that you have achieved. The hangover is slowly subsiding, the teamsters are returning to their jobs and delirium tremors.
Many of the experiences are shared along the way, the usual touristy stuff, everybody and his mother have a customary picture of themselves with a dozen different horse statues. But what makes the Mongol Rally different and special is those personal, ludicrous experiences that happen to teams in the arse end of nowhere, on three wheels, down a back alley only partially awake or sober.
So in the final wrap up of the Mongol Rally we take our hats off to you, the adventurers, you bloody-minded, glorious, mad bastards. Well played, now go have a bath for fucks sake.
Winners of the Spirit of the Rally Award, team 'Taking care of Business', hobbled into the finish line and final party on Saturday. Their award much deserved for their pedantic refusal to give up. Just 30 miles from the finish line they rolled their beloved Morris Minor. Stitching up their wounds with the nonchalance of battlefield medics, Carla and Dom pushed on towards the finish line. Dom steeling his enormous manhood with visions of the Hulk throbbing through his mind, single-handedly flipped the car back onto its wheels.
Thumbing their noses at defeat and enjoying the alfresco feel of no longer having doors, they finally had to trailer their beasty across the finish line after they ran out of tyres. We salute your stubborn refusal to be beaten, even when upside down and bleeding. The 2nd Morris was dragged into Ulan Ude on the back of a truck the next evening, mechanically dead, and brutalised by the harsh roads, yet willing.
The rather epic story of 'Nowhere Fast', who became Rally-notorious for unwittingly and sadly bumping off a horse with their vehicle and in particular of Dom Perrero concluded in true style. Dom appearing at the finish line party just before midnight to thunderous applause, bandaged head, missing almost everything that could be described as a vehicle and carrying a skull.
He spent the day before stuck in literal no man’s land, having exited Mongolia with his wreckage and then was rejected by the Russian border. He spent the night sleeping between two large Mongol truck drivers who did a sneaky during the night and disappeared.
Filthy, hungry, glorious
This year’s Rally saw the first electric car to compete and finish with team 'Plug in Adventures' proving that you simply have no excuse to run out of battery on the M5. Taking saving the planet to a new level, while silent buzzing across a third of the world we all must stand in awe of their sizeable carbon offset. No comment was received on whether or not anyone licked the battery terminals.
Team 'Donna's 89th Birthday' set off with the intention of immortalizing their gran, with her picture blazoned across the side of their car. They, however, broke down and while catching a ride were forced into the back of container on a truck and spent 23 hours in complete darkness starring in a cheap remake of a Eurotrash horror flick. Does anybody want to play a game?
Kerry-Lea and Peter of the 'Whizzers of Oz' got lost looking for the border to escape Iran, this resulted in them wandering into a restricted military area and being forced to their knees at gun point executioner style. After many hours the issue is now resolved and everyone has added each other on Facebook.
We had two weddings on the Rally, congrats to the 'Unruly Khans' and 'The Slow and the Curious' who got married en route. And well done to four honeymooning teams who survived their honeymoon on the Mongol and are amazingly still just about talking to each other.
One of the great controversial moments of the Rally was when 'All Pamir and No Idea' managed to become the most hated man in Mongolia for a brief period after accidentally and rather stupidly illegally parking in Chinggis Square, Ulan Bator. His notoriety among the patriots of Mongolia has earned him death threats and social media fury. With one individual referring to him as a “Yellow haired caterpillar” and scheduling righteous vengeance for when he could be bothered, threatening to “Get him… in 3 days time”. Way to make friends Sam, you plonker.
The 'LADAteers', graciously towed the 'Driving Dutchmen' an astonishing 1600km, proving that the Dutchmen were willing to put their feet up and let someone else do the driving. We doubt the 'LADAteers' will let them hear the end of it.
Nick Sheaf’s team, who’s herbal and spiritual adventures with the Iranian police caused them to swap parts of their car for munchies arrived at the finish line, sans engine. Team '2fast 2delirious' took their name as a personal challenge and lived up to their self set objectives.
Trevor Arrow started the race on a motorbike, which turned out to be shit. He carried on by buying a disgraceful BMW 5 series, which luckily turned out to be shit and also stolen. He miraculously arrived at the finish line with his broken bike on the back seat of his Thug Life approved Beemer.
Adventure Chief Mr Kevin would like to remind 'Team Airhump' that he is still pouting about them using their Sasquatch strength to rip the sleeves from his tweed jacket. “Simply not cricket”. The team's car has completed its 2nd incredible journey to the finish line and is expected to do it again next year. Crack on!
Team 'Slow Ride to Mongolia', ditched their laid-back approach which had kept them scratch free all the way to Ulan Ude, in order to crash 400 meters before the finish line. The father and son team further broke down on the finish ramp before muscling it the last few meters.
#Therallynever ends has become the catchphrase for most of our world challengers. The story of the Mongol is always one of personal triumphs, adventures and near death fuckery, such as the Irishman who fell asleep next to the Gates of Hell and awoke to find himself dangling over the edge. It remains unclear whether he was sleepwalking or being dragged downwards before his due date.
As ever the social media feed of the rally is like watching a snuff film out of the corner of your eye.
Where there is always resounding effort from the majority of teams, there are always those few who stand out as never having really cut the apron strings and who come back to us with grievous complaints and requests to make even the most beardy hipster cringe.
The 'Maple Marauders' messaged through on Day 1 to ask if anyone could provide them with a sleeping bag. Their Mum has also got in touch to say they left their lunch box at the start line.
The Emergency helpline opened for the finishers in dire peril and only to be used in moments of extreme brown trouser neediness. The first call to this hotline was, of course, to inquire for directions to the pub.
One Rallier graciously and pedantically posted a map to every petrol station in Mongolia with the neurotic efficiency of a 1950's oil tycoon.
'Risky Guys' from Belarus took their anarchic intent out by setting fire to the finish line, not by accident. But with petrol and towels.
One thing that stood out on this year's rally was the participants' ability to fall out with each other and switch teams, which is unusual. Adventurers were team swapping with all the gusto of housewives on a swingers' day cruise.
How many adventurers can you balance of the magnificently shiny crotch of a Khan?
Nobody could really sum up the experience better than the 'Amerikhan Refugees' who’s epic exploits they glibly summarized thus,
So I've finished the Mongol Rally. Two months, 22 countries, 13,000ish miles, $1000 to charity, and one $400 car. I had a heat stroke in the Uzbek desert, was accused of being gay and threatened with death in Chechnya, was woken up by armed patrol soldiers on the border of Afghanistan, nearly got robbed in a confusing "motel" on the border of Macedonia, got in a car accident with a crazy old lady in Croatia, and bribed a Tajik border guard with a hat.
We slept in Turkish caves, swam in the border river of Tajikistan and Afghanistan, and drove through the beautiful landscapes of Mongolia. We were offered free breakfasts and beds, got car repairs for free, and were offered coats when the weather got colder. I felt safer in the Stans' than I have in US cities, and that's a really weird experience.
All in all, take two months off and do the Mongol Rally. It's wild
We hope you all now have got the Adventurists stamp in your passport and the spirit of adventure burnt unpleasantly deep in your soul.
For those of you armchair warriors, who did not make it on the 2017 Rally, we hope to see you on it next year if you have grown a pair by then.
If you think you have the dash and daftness, please hit that rather conspicuous button below. What's more, if you do that before Sunday 24th September 2017 then you'll save yourself a rather nifty £50 - just think of all the bribes you could pay with that.
Until next year...