Mongol Rally... in a £800 Skoda
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The Mongol Rally 'Genghis Khanny Skate' team of Max Schonwalder, Gary Muldoon, Gary Dunham and 'Brian'. Pic: Mark Travers
THEY were told when they signed up that they were putting their health and lives on the line.
But in spite of the "extremely risky" nature of the Mongol Rally, three Dunbar men are preparing to drive across one third of the Earth's surface in pursuit of the event's finish line.
Gary Dunham, Gary Muldoon and Max Schonwalder - who will be 22, 22 and 21 respectively when the event starts in July - are taking their £800 Skoda, nicknamed Brian, 10,000 miles through 11 countries in a bid to raise £1,000 for charity.
The rally starts at Goodwood race track on July 14, with participants expected to drive to the capital of Mongolia - Ulaanbaatar - by any means they see fit, arriving at some point in late August.
Competitors are on their own the moment they leave southern England, and are expected to source and pay for their own fuel and car repairs, as well as mapping out their own route there.
The trio - calling themselves 'Genghis Khanny Skate 2012' - will camp along the way, and have already had to fork out hundreds of pounds to pay for their vehicle, vaccinations, flights, visas, travel insurance, and the £700 rally entry fee.
They have already managed to raise £700 as part of their fundraising efforts, after they each did 26 miles on their skateboards by doing about 40 laps of the race track at East Fortune. Half of the money raised will go to the rally's official charity - the Lotus Children's Centre Charitable Trust in Mongolia, which helps abandoned and vulnerable children - while the other half will go to North Berwick's theSPACE youth facility, where both Mr Muldoon and Mr Schonwalder work.
The rally is run by The Adventurists, a UK company which holds a number of unusual charity adventures across the globe.
A warning for those taking part in the Mongol Rally reads: "Your chances of being seriously injured or dying as a result of taking part are high. Individuals who have taken part in previous Adventurists' adventures have been permanently disfigured, seriously disabled or lost their life. This is not a glorified holiday. It's an unsupported adventure and so by its very nature extremely risky. You really are on your own and you are putting both your health and life at risk."
Dangers include crashes, theft, corruption and though there are some nerves, Mr Dunham said that its risky nature was part of the event's charm.
"The warning didn't bother me," he told the Courier. "It's all part of the excitement of it really. I'm nervous and excited. It's quite dangerous and we've never really done anything like this before, with the timescale we're going to be away.
"You're totally on your own - those who organise it don't give you any help. That's where the nerves come in, but we're looking forward to it. It's something that we've never done before and it'll be a challenge."
The trio hope to be part of a convoy travelling to Mongolia, driving through the likes of Romania, Moldova, Ukraine, Russia and Kazakhstan on the way. Mr Dunham has already learnt some Russian to prepare him for the journey.
He added: "From the starting date we've got two days to get to a castle in the Czech Republic. Everyone meets up there and there's a party in a castle. That is, I think, 1,000 miles or something like that. But once we get into the likes of Kazakhstan we're going to be limited as to how far we can do in a day.
"We hope to do between 100 and 500-600 miles a day."
To donate to the team log on to http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/genghiskhannyskate, while their progress can be followed at www.facebook.com/genghiskhannyskate
This article appeared in East Lothian Courier 10 May 12
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May 20, 07:52