Mad Mongolian rally crew from Culdrose
With an unbelievable journey ahead, stretching nearly half way across the world, a fearless team of three Royal Naval adventurers are putting the finishing touches to preparations before they set out on a journey of a life-time.
Starting-off on the “Mongol Rally” route, which takes in huge swathes of Eastern Europe, Russia, Kazakhstan, and Mongolia, the Fleet Air Arm team consisting of Lieutenants Will Scown, Jon Ford and Chief Petty Officer Adam Marshall from Royal Naval Air Stations at Culdrose and Yeovilton, will cover close to 10,000 miles before reaching their journeys end at Ulan Bator, the capital of Mongolia. They hope to complete the trek in four weeks.
A large part of their route will be on dirt tracks and un-metalled roads that are susceptible to flash floods and freak weather conditions. Not that the Sailors are taking an easy option with anything. Rather than rely on modern GPS equipment and orbiting satellites; they are set to use traditional methods with map and compass, sticking with navigation techniques that even Admiral Lord Nelson would have approved of. “It’s quite easy to forget how large some of these countries are, Kazakhstan for example is bigger than Western Europe combined!” said Will Scown who normally controls aircraft around the skies of Cornwall from the tower at Culdrose, and part of the Navy’s “Mongkes-Fist” team.
Setting off from RNAS Culdrose on Friday 12 July their vehicle of choice will not be a 4x4 off road, super powered specially equipped wonder rally car; but a standard, reasonably priced blue Nissan Micra!
Not content with some distinctive sponsorship logos their rally-car will also be sporting a rather fetching fist specially made and installed for the journey. Adam Marshall believes they’ve got their priorities in order as the start gets closer. “We should be putting a sump guard on the car, or building a roof rack, adding a snorkel, etc. Instead we’ve constructed a giant flag carrying fist for the top of the car. It should do a lot to raise our team profile, and drag down our MPG!”
Crossing rivers, ravines, mountain ranges, deserts and no less than fifteen national borders, the international “Mongolian Rally” is designed to test the courage and initiative of teams involved. Supported by the Mongolian Government, who stipulated that all competing vehicles must be less than 10 years old, the Royal Navy team will be raising money for Royal Navy & Royal Marines Charities and Operation Smile, the Heal & Toe Children’s charity, Providing Free therapy to Children with Cerebral Palsy & Dyspraxia.
Jon Ford sums up the challenge. “Our main concern is will our tiny car survive such a difficult journey across inhospitable terrain – it certainly wasn’t designed for it. One thing we all agree on; even if we have to drag it to the finish with a donkey that car WILL make it to Mongolia.”