Total strangers drive 954cc Citroën to overall victory in POI Rally
The Adventurists Council of Elders have chosen the Champions of the Poles of Inconvenience Rally 2022. Bravo and a doff of the hat to Tim and Jordan, Team Going Nowhere.
They’d never met before the rally this summer. After teaming up via facebook they drove a 954cc Citroen AX 17,345km from John O’Groats to Tblisi over 38 days. And not one single murder took place in their car.
It’s difficult to sum up why these two legends were chosen as the Rally Champions. Luckily Jordan wrote this brilliant adventure report that says it all…
Adventure Report by Jordan, one half of Team Going Nowhere
Tim and I had never met before this rally. I write this today with confidence: we formed one of, if not the best, team on the 2022 POI Rally.
A week before the Scotland-Czech Nonvoy kicked off I was sitting in a hostel on the Spanish tourist track, needing something more from my travels than your typical hot-girl-euro-summer. Sure I was having fun, but it was just all too easy.
Where were the near death experiences? Where was the adventure?
The Official Mongol Rally facebook group became my E-harmony: “Desperate 2015 Mongol Rally veteran seeks lonely empty seat for adventures, good times, and a split fuel bill”.
Tim was going solo but suddenly saw an opportunity to half his expenses, took the bait and suggested a call over WhatsApp. We ended up spending an hour chatting and spinning stories of ridiculous experiences on our previous rallies, bonding over how they had changed our lives for the better, and aligned our values for travelling. “The general vibe was;
- Do something ridiculous.
- Celebrate the fuckups.
- Help others have a bloody good time.
These became the unwritten laws of Team Going Nowhere.
My friends, family and girlfriend all had the same question: “how will you possibly survive 5 stressful weeks in a tiny car with someone you’ve never even met?” But I knew it would be fine. This was meant to be. I bailed on months of backpacking plans, and booked a flight to Edinburgh.
Tim picked me from up just outside Edinburgh in his 1996 Citroen AX 954cc. It was a beautifully shit car later christened “Melissa” with busted drive shafts, no headroom, and home job rally stripes. Melissa was already a veteran in her own right, having taken Tim on his previous two years of the Poles of Inconvenience Rally. Perfect.
Tim’s rough plan was to head to the Arctic Circle, claiming 4 of the 5 Scandinavian poles, before gunning it south for a wander through Romania and eventually hitting the Tbilisi finish line at 5.59pm on the closing day.
We both agreed that the final closing party was a must, but as we continued to discuss (and drink), we decided we could do better in the Arctic. So we upgraded the plan; we’d hit all 5 Scandinavian poles AND drop by Nordkapp, the most northerly point of mainland europe. A total distance further than our previous rallies to Mongolia. Our ridiculous vision was set.
We drove to John O’Groats (via Cock Bridge hehe), meeting our new best pals the “Red Hot Jazzepenos” at a Lidl just south of Wick. Our first convoy was promptly formed, but the moment we arrived at the John O Groats POI we blew a radiator hose.
No stress, we still carried the Nonvoy all the way from Scotland to Prague, both
- Literally – by driving Mr Carlos (rally organiser from The Adventurists) the entire way and saving the Czechout Party after the Golden Bambi had engine problems, and
- Metaphorically – by lifting the spirits and getting each nights party started.
Our oversized tent became the hottest rave in all of Western Europe, regularly hosting over a dozen ralliers all cutting loose to “Adelante” by Sash. The “Danish Whip” also became the official Nonvoy drinking game after I taught it to the other teams. Pisk Mig Hårdt!!! We were off to a flyer!
Things only escalated at the launch party. There is no doubting that the Going Nowhere fluorescent-duct-tape-bikinis had us best dressed in Junk Town. Although the events of the night are very, very hazy, Tim’s performance that night was so far above the call of duty.
The Irish Mongos got so worked up by the great man, they couldn’t help chanting “TIM TIM TIM TIM TIM” every time he stumbled into view. This would spread through the teams and become his official chant for the trip. So much so actually that Tim lost his voice chanting his own name. The arrogance of the man!
The morning after felt like the apocalypse. Into my 30s now, the body just doesn’t recover like it used to. Tim, on the other hand, is immortal. I needed to spew. We stopped the car and called it.
Driving into Scandinavia had a very wholesome start. Having loaded up in Germany with as many beers as we could find for less than 0.70 Euro, we spent the next three nights sleeping on the couches of old friends. Aww 🙂
From here we teamed up with “McMoore Than a Woman” (legends) to tackle the first two Scandinavian POIs in the southern Fjordlands of Norway. This was by far the most beautiful driving of the trip, our second day in particular bringing tears to my eyes as we passed endless waterfalls, mountains and fjords in Griengerfjord and Trollstigen.
To offset this however, we also stumbled across the most horrendous public toilet I had ever seen (by now I have shown too many people the photo already, it can’t go on here).
As we continued north, our Arctic adventure became more eventful than we could have predicted. We hiked through landslides, broke down on ferries, and battled the midnight sun as we claimed all 5 Scandinavian poles AND Nordkapp.
We boldly drove as far in the wrong direction as the European mainland would allow us. I’m confident that no other team can claim to have (somewhat accidentally) pissed into Putin’s territory at the Norway-Russian border, dubbed a potential “act of aggression” by the handsome Norwegian border guards.
But we doubled down, letting off strategic (and disgusting) Sürstromming stink-bombs to carry on the wind and render the Kremlin uninhabitable! I can’t quite imagine the thought going through the border guards head as he stumbled across two idiots, wrapped in garbage bags, vomiting up fermented herring on the rocks by the arctic ocean. All in a day’s work!
And speaking of the Swedish Stinky Fish, we carried a can of the unforgettable stench over 10000km to the finish line to honour a bet with the Onlyvans. A very fitting climax when OnlyVans Greg shot the juice right into his face!
Our Arctic mission completed, we gunned it south, seeing our first sunset in 5 days. We were hosted by more old friends in the south of Finland, before taking the ferry over to Estonia.
Tim may have mistakenly thought I was homesick, and booked us into “The Aussie Pub Hostel” in Riga, Latvia. We danced to Latvian Bon Jovi covers in an old wine cellar over dinner, then befriended the organisers of a hostel pub crawl. Once again the evening got out of hand.”
Days later in Romania, we learned our dear pals Team Red Hot Jazzepenos had been refused entry into Iran and were lurking in far Eastern Turkey. They decided that driving 1,300km west to claim another POI was too far, and instead would limp to the finish line days early with their tail between their legs.
We gave them an offer too good to refuse – drive 2300km back Romania to meet us, and then claim 3 poles, spy on some bears, and convoy the remainder of the trip with their heroes. The Jazzas’ dreams had come true, and a couple of days later they were back convoying with the rally’s best. Tim and I were very proud of them.
POI #15 in Romania – ‘Through the Hills’ was the first time we lost the exhaust. Luckily Eoghan from the Jazzapenos team could deadlift the car, making it heaps easier to put back on!
8hrs of driving dirt roads and dodging nerds from [NAME OF NON-ADVENTURISTS RALLY REDACTED], an absolute dream day! Back this up by spotting bears on the Transfagarasan, Tim’s bucket list road.
Turkey was a sprint, but we finally met up with the Gearknobs. I took one of the last photos before their engine bay fire, which was later used to help them rewire it! We then helped instigate a big old night in Batumi, with 10ish teams in attendance.
Our car decided to throw a tantrum on the final stretch through Georgia, developing a mysterious allergy that had her literally vomiting petrol out of the fuel cap. Add to this an exhaust that just kept falling off, several very-near collisions, and the need to babysit the Jazzapenos, our arrival time of 5.59pm was looking unlikely.
But we pushed through, muffler dragging on the ground, and crossed the finish line to a standing ovation from our dear friends. Neither Tim or I had driven onto the podium in our 3 previous attempts, and it was well worth all those years of waiting.
Our ridiculous mission was completed.
Now to celebrate with our final gift to the people. Along with the Sürstromming, we had carried a can of Irn Bru the entire length from John O’Groats to the finish line. Our plan; bring to life the new official drink of the 2022 Mongol Rally POI. “The Rally Bomb” consists of a shot of Georgian Chacha dropped into a glass of the ‘Bru, Scotland’s highest selling soft drink. The start line meets the finish, creating a burning, sweet hug from the inside out.
We grabbed out old pal Mr Carlos, chanted “Salud”, touched tips, then downed them. Then chased them with a dozen Long Island Iced Teas at a 6am finish. A fitting end to an incredible trip.”
The post finish line trip up into Ushguli and the Zagari Pass POIs in Georgia was second only to Norway for beauty. And easily number 1 for friendly locals. We drank chacha, ate glacier, and marvelled at the 5000m high peaks of the Caucasus mountains.
From here it was a sprint back to Istanbul via Cappadocia, where Tim and I said our farewells.
Tim Hourigan is a truly special, one-of-a-kind person that I will be forever grateful of for giving me a seat on this trip. Everyone we met bloody loved him, and for good reason. Thanks again my friend, I cannot wait to meet up sometime, somewhere in the future. Love, Jordan.
Here are some additional bold claims to back up our application. Some may need fact checking.
- 38 days in a car together, despite never meeting before, without a single argument or falling out. Both Rally Veterans – Proof that the rally changes you, aligns you, for the better
- 17300km in a team of two. Surely the highest distance travelled per team member
- 11 Poles. And we didn’t bother boosting our numbers with fake poles in Junktown, too busy having fun!
- Only team to claim all 5 Scandinavian poles
- Only team to enter Russia prior to the finish line.
- Only team to stinkbomb Putin and piss into his territory
- Highest speed on the rally – 110mph. despite having one of the oldest, shittest cars!
- Carried Mr Carlos to Prague, saving the party
- Best dressed in Junktown
- Only contestant to have an official chant “TIM TIM TIM TIM TIM”
- Only team to have a fan club (Jazzapenos)
- Carried Sürstromming 10,000km to the finish line
- Instigators of the Batumi pre-pissup
- Exhaust fell off 6 times
- Countless roll starts
Claims that disgrace our closest and dearest friends among the other teams:
- Gearknobs – Drove a bloody long way and a heap of breakdowns, but given the 1500cc and later 1800cc engine, pfft who couldn’t. Also heard rumours that the engine bay fire never happened… they just wanted a reason to go home early.
- Jazzapenos – Air conditioning, excessive storage and not a single breakdown. They also drove 2300km in the wrong direction to come meet us. The “Robin” to our “Batman”.
- OnlyVans – Just got a bad vibe from those two fellas. Anyone who can take a Sürstromming can to the face and not spew just cant be trusted.
- HardHat Rancingos – Anyone can get stuck in a bog. Remember the horse from “Never Ending Story”? Not worth celebrating.
- Flaming Mongrels – Drove through a warzone, faked a marriage to sell the car. Legends. But missed the finish line party. Ineligible.
Tim & Jordan also raised £824 for the official rally charity – the DEC Ukraine Appeal.
Follow the chaps on Instagram – Tim @tehourigan and Jordan @hannagan_going_nowhere