Posted by: TomA | 5 January 2008

Final call for the drive to Mongolia

I’ve previously blogged about my interest to take part in one of the (growing number of) Mongol Rallies this July. Now comes to the time to try and get it together…

I’ve one other interested party, so if you fancy 2 weeks driving from London to Mongolia, possibly not via Iran and Afghanistan given their political climate, but a (very slightly) less dodgy route to the north, then let me know.

There are a couple of events: the Mongol Rally leaves London July 19th and restricts you to a car with an engine of one litre or less; Charity Rallies Mongolia 2008 leaves 2 weeks earlier and allows you to take whatever vehicle you want – allowing you to take something (an old Defender or Land Cruiser pick-up for example) that might actually be of use to the people there, rather than a battered 1 litre Fiat Panda. My gut feeling is with the latter, who (appear, at least) to have a more stringent charitable foundation for the event.

The two of us who’re up for it so far both drive, so if you’re one of my friends who’ve still not got a licence, you’re more than welcome to sit in the back and map read… until we get out of Europe and such concepts fall by the wayside… [sense of direction as well as legal requirements to be eligible to drive]. Alternatively, if we can gather a few people, we could have more than one car going…

I would somehow like to incorporate an environmental aspect to this, though I’ve yet to decide exactly how. I’m extremely sceptical of carbon-offsetting schemes, though given the current expense of alternative fuelled vehicles and the problem of finding vegetable oil in the Mongolian desert, I’m not quite sure how to proceed with the idea of taking a non petrol/diesel powered vehicle. Ethanol is an option – though again one with suspect environmental benefits. So again, ideas would be gladly received…

Costs aren’t extortionate, around the price of a weekend camping in a muddy field in Somerset (i.e. about the same as buying the car).

Plus, its for charity folks. So, anyone left?



  1. This sounds brilliant, but sadly jobs and the real world mean I wouldn’t be able to do it. My dad did a similar thing once, except he drove across europe in an amublance to raise money for a psychiatric hospital. ‘Eurochallange’ I believe it was.
    I do love replying to blogs of people who are currently in the next room:) x

  2. Hi Tom,
    Really glad to see you’re thinking about driving to Mongolia later this year, it’s an awesome journey. I just wanted to drop you a quick line because I was a bit worried about a couple of lines in your blog above.

    You said: My gut feeling is with the latter, who (appear, at least) to have a more stringent charitable foundation for the event.

    I just wanted to let you know that teams taking part in the original Mongol Rally donate their charity money directly to the Official Charities via fundraising websites designed for the purpose such as and the new fundraising website and the money doesn’t come via us because we are a company, not a charity. Teams pay a seperate entry fee to us to cover the things that we provide such as launch events and the arrangements for getting the vehicles into Mongolia. We do everything we can to make sure the two are not blurred and the money goes straight to the place where it’s needed most to enable the awesome charities to do what they do and make the world a nicer place.
    If you have any questions about the Mongol Rally, please feel free to drop me a line on

    Cheers and all the best for your preparations.

    Mongol Rally

  3. Apologies – my phrasing was perhaps lazy – the dangers of blogging after a heavy day revising! The comment came without any grounding besides the awareness that an individual behind the initial Mongol Rally had since left and was behind the Charity Rallies event.
    Both events look excellent, which leaves me to sort out which one to plump for and which friends to drag along with me….!

  4. Also, re: Tammy’s dad driving across Europe in an ambulance, mine has been talking about doing the Mongol Rally in an ice cream van. In full Mr. Whippy regalia with a 6ft ice cream cone on the roof and 10,000 miles of jingly jangly music…. Hm.

  5. Hi Tom,

    Glad to see you on the Mongolia Charity Rally!

    However, it is interesting to see Dan Wedgwood of the Adventurists, and hence the Mongol Rally, trying to defend the fact that they are a profit making company!

    You correctly said in your blog that: “My gut feeling is with the latter, who (appear, at least) to have a more stringent charitable foundation for the event.”

    The fact is that the Adventurists raise no money for charity. The teams taking part in their events raise money for charity, but the Adventurists don’t. Despite charging prices that look like a package holiday, they offer little except for a website, a launch event in London and the arrangements for import into Mongolia (which, at the time of writing, they haven’t actually secured with the Mongolian Government).

    When you sign up for the Mongol Rally you even give the Adventurists the copyright in your photographs and videoes and hence the right to use them to make money. The charities receive no direct benefit. When Jack Osborne was filmed taking part in the Mongol Rally the charities received no benefit. When you see the sponsors on the Adventurists’ website, the charities receive no benefit.

    Charity Rallies was set up precisely because of these problems and the increasing number of profit making companies that were getting involved in “charity rallies” and misusing the good name of charity. Those that want to volunteer and help out for charitable causes don’t want to help out with events that are also making money for the organisers. Even the Mongol Rally used to be a non-profit organisation until it became successful and Tom Morgan decided in Autumn 2006 to make it profit making and conveniently forget all those people who helped to make it such a great event.

    Charity Rallies is different. It offers a wholly charitable framework for rallies to operate. This means that not only do the teams raise money (like the Adventurists, the money goes directly to the charities), but the overall event sponsorship also benefits the charities.

    The Mongolia Charity Rally is directly linked with the Mongolian Community in London and in Mongolia. That is why we have the import arrangements all in place, a responsible policy to ensure we aren’t dumping scrap vehicles in the pristine Mongolian Countryside, and a launch in London in collaboration with the Mongolian Association to bring a great Mongolian Naadam to London. All this for a third of the price of the Mongol Rally. Why? Because it is all for charity!

    Looking forward to seeing you on the 5th July at the Naadam!


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