Culdrose sailors drive a Nissan Micra from Cornwall to Mongolia
Described as the “Greatest Adventure in the World”, The Mongol Rally from The UK to Ulaan Bator in Mongolia has just been completed by three Air Traffic controllers from the Royal Navy’s Fleet Air Arm.
Lieutenants Will Scown, Jon Ford and Chief Petty Officer Adam Marshall set off from Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose on 13 July. 10,000 miles, 27 Days and 14 countries later they pulled into a car park at the Chenggis hotel in Ulaan Bator, Mongolia. Exhausted and elated they reached their destination, bruised but not broken. Their poor Micra had gone through the gauntlet over some of the worst roads imaginable. The sound of heavy impacts on the soft underbelly of the car becoming so routine that by the end they no longer flinched or grimaced as they had in Moldova, thousands of miles earlier when metalled roads started to disappear. Significant credit must go to the metal workshop at RNAS Culdrose who built them one hell of a sump guard; it was nothing more than scratched by the end - the envy of many a team!
Despite taking one of the most arduous routes, through the Alps of France and Italy, the Transfagarasan in the Carpathians, even exploring the Southern reaches of Siberia, they finished 13th out of more than 200 teams. “The highlight of the rally was passing though the Mongolian boarder on a crisp sunny evening and taking in the incredible landscape of the Mongol steppe for the first time”, said Will Scown. “Lakes and grassland dominate the scenery with snow capped mountains on every horizon. There are almost no signs of human life or activity – it really does take your breath away”.
The rally did take its toll and the Royal Navy trio were all physically and mentally drained by the end. “Despite expecting the worst we were all shocked at how poor the roads turned out to be. This was balanced out by awe and wonder at how well our little Benfield Motors sponsored Micra suffered the conditions. It managed almost all the off-road driving with little fuss; our hand winch called upon just once to drag us out of some particularly deep, soft sand”.
By the end the Culdrose Sailors had raised £8500 for their chosen charities: Royal Navy & Royal Marines Charities, Operation Smile, and Heel & Toe Children’s charity, providing free therapy to children with Cerebral Palsy & Dyspraxia.
The final word must go to Adam Marshall, whose enthusiasm and determination made the whole adventure possible; “It truly was a fantastic experience and one we will never forget, we just drove a Nissan Micra from Cornwall to Mongolia”!