How two Northern Irish lads tackled three continents and over 11,000 miles in a clapped-out Citroen Berlingo.
Sponsorship. Route planning. Team bonding and fundraising events; van-cramming and graffiti-acquiring. Even the work that goes into preparing for Mongol Rally – a death-defying charity odyssey from the UK to Mongolia – is a mammoth undertaking. Buying up a scrap-heap-ready Citroen Berlingo, which the spirit of the rally dictates should be scrawled all over (read: covered in sticky-taped Tayto packets and welded shopping trolleys) was the first part. Next, Dirty Sanchez star Mike Locke (aka Pancho) was persuaded to aid in the fundraising and promotional efforts by allowing donors to staple notes directly his equally scrap-heap-ready body. This, though, was only the start of a journey that was to take to Belfast lads around almost half the globe.
The aim of the Mongol Rally, ostensibly, is to deliver used cars for auction in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, and raise a lot of cash for charity along the way. However, Norn Iron duo Steve Neill and Barry Keenan (and, for a large portion of the journey, Steve’s wife Sarah), tagged on a few of their own personal aims. They live by the motto “For lust of knowing what should not be known”, a quote, appropriately, from early 20th century poet James Elroy Flecker’s ‘The Golden Journey To Samarkand’, and was determined to unveil a ludicrous number of oddities along the way. Aside from seeing far-flung corners of the globe, the team that would be come known as Team Charolastra (space cowboy in Spanish) also intended to cram their sizable van with helpful charitable donations, ingratiate themselves with the local police by handing out gifts of t-shirts from one of their main sponsors Tayto and generally get by on a wing and a prayer.