Echt man takes on Mongol Rally

Henry May (Left) and Jamie Gibson, with their chariot of choice.
Henry May (Left) and Jamie Gibson, with their chariot of choice.

An Echt man is among a team of ‘Adventure Collectors’ taking on the Mongol Rally 2012.

Henry May, 27, is one of four, under team name The Adventure Collectors, who left Aberdeen on July 12 for a six-week, 11,000 mile drive across Europe and Asia to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, to raise vital funds for children’s charities, CHAS and The Lotus Children’s Centre, in Mongolia.

Henry, a former Echt Primary and Robert Gordon’s College pupil, and the team - Alexa Kasim, 29, Jamie Gibson, 26 and Jonathan Mclellan, 26 - have opted for the notoriously demanding Southerly Route.

This will see them plunge south-east from the start line in Prague towards Istanbul, across the Middle East through Iraq and Iran before heading north into Central Asia.

Henry said: “A few years ago, I saw The Long Way Round with Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman, where they drove from the UK to US the long way round, through Europe and Asia. “Their adventure looked incredible and I’ve fancied recreating their experience ever since. “When I saw the Mongol Rally promo video, I messaged a few people who I thought might just be reckless enough to attempt it. The next thing I heard, one of them had paid the entrance fee and we were committed!”

After negotiating the infamous ‘tunnel of death’ in Uzbekistan they plan to join the Pamir Highway, traversing through the Tajik and Kyrgyz mountains. From Kyrgyzstan, they will head north through the deserts and bandit country of Kazakhstan, into Siberia before moving south-east toward the Mongolian border. The final and potentially toughest stage of the journey will see them navigate 2,000 miles of Mongolian steppe, much of which is off-road and littered with unpredictable river crossings.

Organisers encourage teams to choose underpowered and unreliable vehicles, capping the engine size at 1.2l, so teams will invariably break down, which necessitates interacting with the locals. The team has chosen a 1.2 litre Fiat Doblo, which will be donated to a local NGO, if and when they arrive in Ulaanbaatar.

“As it’s not a race and there is no set course, we’re attempting one of the longest and most challenging routes possible between here and Mongolia,” said Henry. “I hadn’t even heard of a couple of the countries we’re travelling through when we started planning our route and even the more high-profile countries, like Iran and Iraq, aren’t exactly tourist hot spots.

“There is very little information on the internet about much of our route so we have no idea what to expect.”

They hope to raise £11,000 for their chosen charities. To follow the adventure visit www.adventurecollectors.com