Al and Dave first met behind the bar of a well known drinking establishment, they have been getting drunk and accidentally booking flights ever since. In addition to the original Plan F line up, we’ve got Gilbey (yes that is his real name) and our very own gun toting American, Don (aka Donski). Gilbey and Dave went to college together and Dave met Don last summer when he was invited to join the Dixie Chickens as they circumnavigated the globe in a yellow school bus. They both share a passion for all things dangerous and stupid and so naturally, they are the perfect addition.
In any successful relationship there is one person who comes up with a crazy, exciting, but fatally flawed idea, and one ho takes a step back, considers the options and suggests a sensible alternative. Sadly, both Al and Dave are the former and Gilbey and Don aren’t much better either.
Between them they’ve blagged their way onto the Indian/Pakistan border with a smile and a flash of the “International Disco Pass”; visited countless suit shops in Thailand in order to get a free ride all day (not that kind of ride); hopped the border from Singapore just to get out of the damn place; squeezed four on the back of a rickety antique moped; sent a came on a beer run in the desert; ran with the bulls in Pamplona, Italy; driven around the world in a bright yellow school bus; thrown themselves down an icy luge track; had a beer named after them; been shot at and countless more crazy things. Among all that they share something else in common, they all love to hate Mototaxi’s. Gilbey completed the Mototaxi Junket in 2009, Dave and Al attempted the 2011 version and Don completed the 2012 edition. and between them, they all reckoned this Mongol Rally to be an utterly ridiculous, yet wonderful way to spend their summer so true to form, they had a beer and signed up.
Below we speak to the guys and see what they have to say for themselves.
An enthusiast for the unusual and the challenging, the Mongol Rally is the perfect way to mark my coming-of-age (cheeky little joke for those who know me well), as I slip into my 30s. A military man, my presence in this team is primarily to provide rational thought, apply survival theory in the extremes and to and secure western dominance of the eastern front. Also, I completed a mechanical engineering degree, which means that on paper I should be able to repair the un-repairable. In practice, however, I ditched fourth order differential equations ten years ago and haven’t done anything more challenging than an oil change in years. I have invested in a Haynes manual, which I have been led to believe makes complex repairs as easy as paint by numbers.
My worries. I have no sense of direction – no exaggeration – I am totally and utterly absent this most simple of skills and will rely on my GPS at every occassion. I need feeding three times a day, without a steady supply of nutrition and caffeine, I trough into a grumpy and almost unrecoverable pathetic state. My short term memory is tripe (I take daily vitamin B tables in the hope that it will improve), I need to write down every darn thing I’m told and I regularly leave key kit and equipment in ‘important’ places and subsequently forget where said object and place is.
A northern lad, I attended sixth form college with Dave Edwards – the travelling aficionado. We’ve completed many challenges and trips together – white water and K2 kayaking, excursions to Eastern European capitals, many a New Year mine-sweeping in an ale house and even skiing off the Rila mountain range (that’s Bulgaria for those who wish to judge our skiing class and ability).
Hopefully this wee prose has given you an insight into my abilities and limitations, my reasons and duties, and why I believe that impulse and ‘seizing the day’, are most the magical of mantras.