During the summer months of 2008, I worked with Team Desertaxi in their bid for the 2008 Mongol Rally. As director of media and field communictaions, I designed, developed, and deployed their complete deep-field communications systems, which allowed them to live-blog from the heart of Mongolia, with their media showing up on a website I also designed. This was my adventure agency Four North’s first project in taking place in Mongolia.
The Mongol Rally is a car rally that begins in Europe and ends in Ulan Bator, Mongolia. The principal launch is from Goodwood Circuit, United Kingdom, with subsidiary starting points in other European countries. It is described as the “greatest adventure in the world”. Whilst originally the rally required competing vehicles to have an engine displacement of less than 1,000cc, this has been increased to 1,200 cc to reflect the increasing difficulty of obtaining a car since the Mongolian government stipulated that all competing vehicles must be less than 10 years old.
The rally is designed to be an adventure for the participants, and not a traditional rally/race. The organisers (“The Adventurists”) are careful to point out that racing on highways is illegal, and that no recognition is given to the first finisher. There are other differences from mainstream rallies, particularly the fact that no support team is provided and no other arrangements are made such as for accommodation. Indeed, the diminutive vehicles are deliberately inappropriate for the task, in the adventurous spirit of the rally.
By the end of the adventure, the team led by James Walker had appeared in international news outlets, traveled thousands of miles, and created a video to sum it all up: (direct file link)
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