AK. So Johnny, you've been getting excited about the Rally for plenty of months and I'm sure you're reaching fever pitch by now. How did you fall into this endeavour?
JP. In winter 2011, I was crocked with a bad back (slipped on black ice when running) & was moping around, feeling sorry for myself. Then Kenny told me of a fantastic film festival, The Hope Valley Adventure Film Festival, so I went along. The line-up was superb & it had a great atmosphere. The Compere announced the final film entitled “The Mongol Rally”, something I never even knew existed. He said along the lines of “I won’t tell you anything about this film, I’ll let you make your own minds up, but I think it’s very good!”
Lina & I were absolutely gripped, it was an awesome film. Afterwards, as we were discussing all the films & I said “What did you reckon to “The Mongol Rally” film?”
Lina said “Let’s do it!”
So that’s where it started, the seed was planted 18 months ago & now, I’m surrounded by gear, in a house that looks like it’s been ransacked (twice) & we set off tomorrow.
Plus, our car is in the garage with a broken shocker!
AK I believe the Mongol Rally is reasonably well known, but what's the main attraction?
JP.10,000 miles of pure adventure over mountains, deserts and some of the most remote terrain on the planet, in a car designed for the weekly shop!The Mongol Rally is the World’s biggest amateur car rally, with no back-up, no support & no set route.
On July 14th 200 teams will set forth from Goodwood, to join another 200 European teams in the Czech Republic. We will be crossing Western & Eastern Europe, then Russia, Kazakhstan, Siberia and finally Mongolia in our 998cc Nissan Micra “The Silver Streak”.
All teams are raising money for various charities and we aim to raise as much money as possible for two: Martin House Children’s Hospice and The Lotus Children’s Centre.
You can donate to these two very worthy causes via the direct link on their website.
AK. Have you been up to much getting into the spirit of the thing and preparation wise?
JP. Well we got to show off the Silver Streak at the Keswick Mountain Festival (which you kindly invited me along to). I was also fortunate to come along to “Big Shakeout” last October where I was given a slot to do a bit of a public chat (so to speak) about our Mongol Rally plans, where I was grilled by the Grimester, Niall Grimes, and quizzed by Captain Kirk, Andy Kirkpatrick. All being well, team Mongoliando.com will be back there this October. We've also done some longish trips up to John O'Groats amongst others.
AK. Do you have one thing during the trip that you are most excited about?
JP.We're both looking forward to camping in the middle of the middle of nowhere.Deserts, steppe, mountains. Also shopping in little Kazakh markets, struggling with my (severely limited) Russian & not knowing what we're actually eating at times...
AK. There's a lot of adventure and unpredictability involved by the looks of things. Is there anything in particular that you are overly worried about coping with on the journey?
JP.Fears, doubts & worries?
Our biggest single fear would be a terminal injury to the Silver Streak. It's in effect a year of driving in 4 weeks. A big ask for a Micra with 94000 miles on the clock.We've tried to go as light as possible (& failed !) We've got to be self-sufficient, but neither of us are mechanics!
AK. One day to go. What will you be up to on Friday night?
JP.Until the bar closes!Will have plenty to chinwag about with other excited ralliers!
Oh and... if you get a chance!Follow our epic adventure and sponsor us here: www.mongoliando.com