London-Mongolia rally 'suitably stupid thing to do'

Friends (from left) Oskar Dax, Matthew Gibson, Helena Barnes, Bronwyn Larsen and Jon Tweed are...
Friends (from left) Oskar Dax, Matthew Gibson, Helena Barnes, Bronwyn Larsen and Jon Tweed are trying to find two 1200cc cars to take on a 16,000km rally for charity. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
A seven-strong group of friends taking part in a 16,000km London-Mongolia rally for charity think they will probably break down in every country they visit - but it's not putting them off.

The "Mo Riders" group, which includes two Dunedin men, is trying to organise two cars to take on the 16,000km Adventurists Mongol Rally, which begins in mid-July.

The group, which is raising money for the Movember Foundation, met when they were studying at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, but two were now based in Dunedin, including Xavier Sander (23).

The dash across Europe and into East Asia would take the friends over some tough and mountainous terrain, and adding to the adventure was the fact the key requirement of the rally was entrants had to have a car with an engine size smaller than 1200cc.

"We just saw it online, and thought it was a suitably stupid thing to do," Mr Sander said.

None of the group members were mechanics, but six were trained engineers, which would hopefully come in handy if the cars broke down, he said.

All teams in the rally picked a charity to raise money for, and the group, which includes two women, decided to go for the Movember Foundation, which supports and raises awareness of mental health and suicide prevention as well as other men's health issues.

Members of the group had either had mental health battles or knew people who had, he said.

The trip will take them from England and through the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Switzerland and Italy to Eastern Europe, and will also take in Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan.

A particular highlight for him would be seeing the countries that formed the old Soviet bloc, which he thought would be "places where you can really break down", Mr Sander said.

The group will start fundraising in the next couple of weeks, and already had a Facebook page and Mospace charity page for the trip.


I suggest a Lada 2105 or variant thereof.