City workers set to take on 10,000 mile rally

Jon James, Ashley Gardner, Ferenc Elekes

Jon James, Ashley Gardner, Ferenc Elekes

First published in News
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Wimbledon Guardian: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

City boys dreaming of a life away from their desks are preparing to drive around one third of the globe in a pick-up truck.

Wimbledon residents Ashley Gardner, Ferenc Elekes and Jon James have teamed up for the 2014 Mongolia Rally - a charity competition challenging participants to travel 10,000 miles from the UK to Mongolia in a vehicle that will then be donated to needy people in the Asian nation.

The financiers, originally from New Zealand and Hungary, are busy raising money for Go Help, an education and healthcare charity operating in the Mongol capital Ulaanbaatar.

Mr Elekes, 33, a Threadneedle Investments consultant, said: "It will be a month-and-a-half-long adventure traversing some of the most challenging roads on earth and free camping much of the way in some of the most isolated areas in Asia."

Setting off from Leeds Castle in Maidstone, Kent, on Saturday, July 5, the adventurers will drive through Belgium, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey, Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Russia before arriving in Mongolia.

They hope to arrive in Ulaanbaatar on Tuesday, August 5, where they will donate their car to Go Help before flying home from Moscow.

So far the biggest challenge has been securing visas and a solid vehicle.

Mr Elekes said: "Five weeks ago we bought our car from eBay and picked it up from Scotland - a Mitsubishi L200 pick-up truck for £2,575.

"It broke down immediately and cost £2,000 to fix, but is still well below the market price."

The team has struggled to secure the seven visas each member requires to complete the trip, particularly from Iran and Turkmenistan, but are confident they will come through before the start date.

Still searching for corporate sponsors to help fund equipment, the trio have daily conference calls to discuss trip plans from organising tickets for the Trans-Siberian railway to arranging their stay in Moscow.

Help them raise their £1,000 target for Go Help by donating at justgiving.com/HungarianKiwis.

Support the group by attending their fundraising picnic and barbecue in Wandle Park, Colliers Wood, on June 21 at 2.30pm.

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