Border crossing are generally long-winded and boring. Well, try telling that to Jay Workman, Stewart Perrie, Michael Monteith and half of Keeley Butler from Mongol Rally 2018 team ‘Destined to Flail’ who went through a passport and ego-crushing 41 countries on their way to Mongol Rally glory. Well played folks, well played indeed.
We know what you’re thinking. Forty one countries? Forty bloody one?? Yes. That’s right. The mythical forty one.
The sum of the first six prime numbers (2 + 3 + 5 + 7 + 11 + 13). The atomic number of niobium. Symphony No. 41 was the longest and last symphony of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. George H. W. Bush, 41st President of the United States. The international dialling code for Switzerland. The race number worn by Sir Roger Bannister when he broke the mythical 4-minute mile barrier in 1954.
Then, of course, we have the second most impressive fact on the number forty one. In The Expendables (2010 film), it’s the number of soldiers actor Eric Roberts laments to his subordinates about having been killed by star Sylvester Stallone in his escape from their island.
And finally, the most impressive…
Czech Republic, Germany, Austria, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, France, Luxembourg, Belgium, Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Italy, Croatia, Bosnia, Montenegro, Albania, Kosovo, Macedonia, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, Greece, Turkey, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Russia and finally Mongolia.
In their own words, here are some of their best bits…
The Adventurists: So how did the launch go for you?
Mike: Well, our team mate, had recently got a drone that was different to mine. Now I see myself as quite the drone pilot sober, but when pissed I see myself as Denzel Washington in "Flight", levels of skilled. After showing off I tried to catch it and in front of everyone it flipped around and opened my forearm up to muscle. Dickhead.
The Adventurists: Yum, that sound nice. What other highlights were there?
Stewart: Well, we got to go to Tomorrowland Festival in Belgium, went paragliding in northern Georgia, climbed Trolltunga and camped overnight in Norway. We saw the gas crater in Turkmenistan, held a golden eagle in Mongolia, went swimming in an abandoned quarry in Estonia and I had my phone stolen in Budapest. We jumped off the Mostar Bridge in Bosnia, watched the balloons in Cappadocia, visited six mechanics, changed seven tyres and celebrated two team mate’s birthdays during the 26,000km trip.
During a night before we hit the Tajik/Afghan border on the Pamirs, we stayed at a hotel in the middle of nowhere. Mike got pulled into a room with a bunch of other residents, who ended up being school administrators for Tajikistan. They plied him with way too much vodka and they didn’t speak a lick of English. They managed to have a full conversation on Google Translate. He says it was one of the funniest thing he’s ever encountered.
The Adventurists: What he can remember anyway. Most heart-stopping moment?
Stewart: Jumping off the Mostar Bridge was pretty insane and definitely worth it if you’re not scared of heights. They test you on the 10m platform until you’re ready and then you have to do the 28m jump.
The Adventurists: So we’re guessing you had to put a fair few hours behind the wheel?
Stewart: We had four drives that stretched from morning to evening and back to morning. We were cursing the roads from UB to the Russia border for a very long time. Still nowhere near as bad as the stretch of ‘road from Altai to Bayankhongor in Mongolia. The final long journey was the home stretch to Ulan Ude: we bought matching red tracksuits to pay homage to Russia, though the border guards seemed less than impressed.
Reckon you have what it takes to beat these guys and go through more countries? We’re not sure you do. Sign up for 2019 is open now. See that huge offensive button below? Hit it and prove us wrong. We dare you.