Mongol Rally: Man shares ‘unforgettable’ road trip from London to Mongolia | Travel News | Travel
The Adventurists is a Bristol-based company that bills itself as “the biggest purveyor of chaos and adventure on the planet”. What was once a one-man team is now an organization of over 500 people working on a variety of challenges for budding travelers around the world. One of them is the Mongolian rally. “It’s 10,000 miles of chaos through mountains, deserts and steppe on roads ranging from bad to not-a-road in a small 1000cc car you bought from a junkyard for £4.60 “, said the adventurers of the road trip. He added: “There is no backup. There is no set route. There is no guarantee that you will go through with it. It’s just you, your rolling turd and your planet-sized bucket of adventure. So what kind of adventure awaits you on one of the world’s greatest road trips?
Hayden Lockhart, 34, described the Mongol Rally as “a mix of pure freedom and adventure”.
He left the trip with “never ending stories”, lifelong friends and, perhaps most importantly, a wife.
Born and raised in New Plymouth, New Zealand, Hayden was living halfway around the world in Europe, drinking a beer with one of his childhood friends, when he first heard of the Mongol. Rally.
“A good school friend of mine, called Alistair, mentioned the idea to me and I said yes on the spot – before I really knew what it was all about,” he explained. .
“The team was just the two of us initially, and others joined us later for parts of the trip.”
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Since there was no specific plan for the three adventurers to follow, they chose “the most interesting route we could think of”, passing through the following countries: Great Britain, France, Germany, Austria, Hungary , Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey, Georgia, Azerbaijan, across the Caspian Sea, Turkmenistan, Usbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan.
It was in Kazakhstan that the Nisaan Micra broke down, which prevented the team from going to Mongolia and completing the trip.
“We were pretty tough on the little Nissan Micra,” Hayden admitted.
“We kind of had an unspoken rule about the trip, that if something was a bad idea, we should do it, every time.”
In total, Hayden said the team “had 14 flat tires, our fuel pump broke the mounts inside the fuel tank, and when I drove through a deep puddle under the hood one day, a sensor electric broke, sending us into lame mode”.
“Luckily our crew chief was an aircraft mechanic, so I just watched him fix it while chatting with my future wife,” he added.
The Nissan Micra seemed to be what endangered the team more than anything else. Hayden went on to describe another car fiasco saying, “When we started the trip we had all our bags stacked on the roof, but we found that the car couldn’t go over 80 km/h on the roads. highways.
“We thought it was because of the wind, so we tried attaching the bags to the boot to make the car more aerodynamic. We were able to hit 62mph with a simple modification.
But despite this, the Pamir road still proved to be difficult, and the car “was so weak in power that you couldn’t get out of first gear”.
Hayden continued: “As we climbed the final hill, we were flat footed, struggling to keep the car moving. If we had stopped, we should have turned around and taken another swing.
“The car started to overheat, so I climbed out the window and stood on the bonnet, pouring cold water over the radiator to keep the car cool. It was actually pretty safe because we we were moving so slowly – it worked wonderfully and we caught up to it in one go.
In Kazakhstan, the team’s final destination, Alistair “accidentally hit a hidden rock”, which ripped off the front wheel of the car.
“We had to reattach it with ratchet straps to try and keep going,” Hayden explained.
“We only drove for a few days before the car broke completely. We never made it to Mongolia and may have to make the trip again.
But that doesn’t seem to be a problem for Hayden, having described the trip as “a truly unforgettable experience”.
“I have traveled extensively and this is by far the most memorable trip I have taken to date,” he said.
The 34-year-old thought back to “one of the most memorable days” in Kyrgyzstan when the team had just set up camp on the side of a mountain, but a group of locals who walked past him said “we weren’t”. not allowed to sleep there.
Hayden said: ‘We thought we were in trouble but once they found an interpreter it turned out that their farmhouse was where we stopped and they insisted we had dinner with him. them and stay in their guest house.
“We packed up and followed them home for a big feast, lots of vodka and basically a house party. We stayed in an open guesthouse, overlooking the gardens and tried their local breakfast of fresh goat’s milk and butter in the morning. An unforgettable experience.”
But despite countless problems with the Nissan Micra, the Pamir highway in Tajikistan was Hayden’s favorite part of the trip.
“Big open mountains, a real sense of remoteness, super friendly and hospitable locals and one big adventure,” he recalls.