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Pirates of the CarWeBeIn - Mongol Rally

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Service Care Solutions’ very own Stuart Quinn has undertaken an epic journey which will see him cross Europe and Asia in a 1 litre, 17 year old Nissan Micra with no support and no clue where they are going…this is the Mongol Rally!

Last weekend Stuart Quinn, our Head of Division for Probation, set off from Preston with the aim of reaching Ulan-Ude, a far-east outpost of Siberian Russia, a journey of over 5,500 miles (at its shortest but Stu will be doing closer to 8000) in about 6 weeks! No routes, no support teams, no pre-booked accommodation, no schedule…just you and your less than 1200cc motor vehicle.

You may be wondering why the Mongol Rally ends in Russia and not Mongolia, well that is to do with the history of the race….

The Mongol Rally began in 2004 when 6 teams (4 of which made it) set out to reach Ulan Bator in Mongolia. Originally the rally was run as a bit of fun, then it was a purely charitable event, but since 250—300 teams now enter the rally annually the event needed some organisers and that’s where a company call “The Adventurists” stepped up in 2007. There is still a healthy charitable feel to the event with each team needing to raise £1000 each to enter the event (if you would like to donate to Stuarts cause click here). There are three essential rules to the rally:

1) You have to be in a rubbish car with an engine size of less than 1200cc – the wackier the better
2) YOU ARE ON YOUR OWN – if you break down or need help of any kind it is down to you to sort it out.
3) Raise at least £1000 for charity

The beauty of this approach is that there is no need for the organisers to provide support teams and therefore logistically there is no nightmare. This means that participants have the freedom to do what they want when they want; the organisers encourage you to find your own way and get lost! Sat Navs are forbidden and even maps and guidebooks are frowned upon….this is meant to be an adventure! Teams from previous years have travelled as far south as Iran and Pakistan and as far north as the Arctic Circle.

Stuart, I believe, is going to head south-ish….looking at the map he will enter countries such as France, Germany, Czech Republic, Austria, Hungary, Serbia, Bulgaria, Turkey, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Mongolia and Russia!

As highlighted above, you would expect the Mongol Rally to end in Mongolia and indeed it used to, however as the rally has grown and gained popularity, the number of participants has meant some changes have had to be made including the finish line. It was proving increasingly difficult to dispose of the cars in Mongolia and increasingly expensive to ship them back to the UK (or wherever they came from) so the organisers took the decision to move the finish line across the border to Russia. Here the cars can be dealt with more economically and environmentally friendly.

Stuarts journey so far:

After meeting up with his crew mate (Andy) last weekend, the pair made their way down to London where they had some Visa business to complete at the Russian Embassy. From there they made their way across the Channel and entered continental Europe with Prague as their first destination. A short trip down to Vienna to sort out some Turkmenistan Visa’s and back to Prague for the opening ceremony. They must have had a good time as it was mid-morning Monday before they set off to begin the Mongol Rally proper shooting straight through Hungary (via Vienna to pick the Visa’s up) spending the night just over the border in Serbia. As I type this blog, they have reached Belgrade. Check back here next week where I will update everyone on Stuarts progress.

Stuart is raising money for two great causes and is aiming to reach a goal of £1500. If you would like to donate towards his goal please click here.

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