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Why the Mongol Rally is the greatest roadtrip on the planet

May 15, 2019

“You’ll shit your pants, sleep on rocks, eat rancid grub, pound your butt cheeks over potholes, and spend more time than you can imagine fixing your car. And you’ll miss every second of it when you’re finished.”
Nat Atkins, 2013.

“You will forever live your life in peace knowing you will never have to board the Caspian Sea ferry again. But at the same time, wanting to board the Caspian Sea ferry again. What have you done to me? Every day broke my car whilst forever fixing my urge to adventure. 10/10 would do it again.”
Alastair Cameron, 2018.

When I asked the Mongol Rally veterans why it’s the world’s greatest road trip I was after grand sweeping statements about thundering across the steppes of central Asia. Maybe some lump-in-the-throat inducing tales of overcoming adversity that would give any pink-shirted marketing dweeb a spontaneous wet dream. Everyone agreed with the statement but their reasons were a bit, well, a bit “Mongol Rally” is probably the adjective.

“Nearly got myself shot in Chechnya over a toy giraffe… I still have that toy giraffe.”
Robert Gadsby, 2016.

We’re all relieved the giraffe is safe and well Robert.

Motoring Monks stuck in a river on the Mongol Rally

Jordan H (2015) said: “It gave me the opportunity to crash an Uzbek wedding (in search of a toilet during a bout of food poisoning), provided me a platform to survive a near death experience (severe dehydration at the door way to hell [in Turkmenistan]), and the only time I’ve received a standing ovation when entering a room (for being a gate crasher at an Iranian birthday).”

You’re most welcome sir. Dying of thirst sounds a bit inconvenient but we’re pleased the rally facilitated the opportunity to survive. Take some tea with you next time.

As the replies poured in they veered rapidly towards the un-publishable. What I needed was glowing testimonial quotes to convince you there’s still time to sign up for the 2019 rally (until it closes on 5th June). Like a true Adventurist I persevered and eventually found a couple of vaguely relevant bits in amongst the poo stories.

“Shit cars are the best cars, by far … There is just something beautiful about being able to hit your car with a sledgehammer to make a bumper fit without having to care.”
Oliver Barber, 2018.

“The shitter the car the better the experience. I didn’t finish but it makes you hungry for more.”
Pete Sellens, 2015.

“That look of despair on two Russians’ faces after our tiny Matiz with a pallet for a roof rack passes their decked out Mercedes G500 on a Georgian mountain overpass. ‘Do you know how much more until paved roads?’ ‘Probably 50 miles or so’ we answer, and tumble along.”
Yevgeniy Parfilko, 2017.

Mongol Rally - The Famous Red Phone Box Mini in Mongolia

Driving a small and unsuitable rolling turd 10,000 miles is also guaranteed to make most of your fellow humans think you’re stupid. That’s how you know you’re doing it right. If the majority of other people in the world don’t think you’re a bit of an idiot, your life is probably boring. If you do a road trip and your mates in the pub say ‘that sounds nice’ – chances are it was a really shit roadtrip, and an even worse adventure.

But the truth of it is that all those curious unprintable tales of adventure are part of what makes the Mongol Rally brilliant. It’s brilliant because it’s weird. It’s brilliant because it doesn’t make any sense. It’s brilliant because it flings you out into the world to survive with what little wits you didn’t pickle the night before then leaves you to figure it out. And it does it for 10,000 miles.

So I’ll leave you with the eloquent rhymes of Mr Pete Sellens who sums all this guff up rather neatly…

“Because it’s fucking awesome.”

Sign up for the 2019 rally closes on 5th Juneget on it.

Skip the website and go straight to the Full Details on the rally here.