The Mongol Rally

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July 18th — September 15th

The Mongol Rally is an 8,000-mile race across two continents, two deserts and five mountain ranges. It is described as the "greatest adventure in the world" and requires competing vehicles to have an engine displacement of less than 1000cc.

There are no pre-determined routes and no help provided to teams who might find themselves lost in the Kazakh desert, in a car slowly being shredded by a dirt track, hundreds of miles from civilization. With 300 teams participating, the Mongol Rally aims to raise over $143,000 for Mercy Corps.

The funds will support regions in Mongolia, where Mercy Corps is implementing training, advocacy and networking programs that will enable communities to develop projects to address what the communities have identified as priority issues. The community-led projects include setting up traditional Mongolian felt tent kindergartens, building children's playgrounds, establishing youth development centers, building wells, and implementing environmentally friendly waste management.

Please support the over forty American and Canadian teams will join teams originating from Great Britain, Italy and Spain to participate in the 2009 rally, including the following:

Mongolia Rovers
Part Minnesota, part Alberta, Canada, and a little bit California, this group of adventurers bring a unique skill set to the rally including knowledge of the Russian words for drink and cigarettes, martini mixing, and making holes in the ground in order to produce gas or oil. Mostly averse to granola crunching activities, several team members are mechanically-minded and enjoy hours of “wrenching” on old cars.

Airag Addicts
This team of eight named themselves after the Mongolian national drink, an alcoholic beverage made from fermented horse milk. The group of friends shares a love of travel and adventures, having visited or lived in over fifteen countries all together. Their secret weapon? Team member Zoya, who is a pro at duct-taping car engines together and siphoning transmission fluid using dry cleaner hangers and plastic bags.

The Flatlanders
A couple of crazy guys, friends since childhood, coming from the flat plains of Kansas grow up and do good against all odds in the wilds of Mongolia. They'll take plane, boat and car to get to the starting gate and then nothing will hold back Gaus and Schmidt from a great and mighty adventure.

Mongol Rally Guys
After meeting at age 12 in Tae Kwon Do class, the two team members were initially drawn together by a love of fantasy-genre video games and a passion for drawing. Now, the two men from Metro Detroit find themselves asking the questions: How will they buy a car in England while they are living in America? Will their visa into Tajikistan be denied? How many inoculations will they have to endure?

Great Job!
Team Great Job includes four students facing impending graduation from UCSD with a desire to rise to the challenge of queasy-inducing adventure. In true Mongol Rally spirit, none of the team members has any experience fixing cars. Any mechanical difficulties will be solved by learning on the fly, pure mental power, and kicking and shouting at various car parts.

These two Southern belles travel ready for the unknown, packing duct tape, gold bond and world band radio where ever they go. While both are fond of life underwater, they aren’t shy about traveling to all the dry places on the map that guidebooks advise against visiting.

Sleepless Knights
Though they admit to the fears of crossing borders and preying mantis, this team of two is looking forward to drinking their way through the rally and introducing fellow rally teams to South Carolina’s official state dance, The Shag. Donors to the team are offered a fun incentive: their names will be printed on the rally vehicle and they will receive a photograph of the car en route to Mongolia as a keepsake. You can vote on which “sweet chariot” you think they should drive!

Team Tex-US
This team of two Texans would be happy to meet any fellow Rally members who might be willing to bail them out of jail, talk to unreasonable border guards, or just offer them a nice, hot cup of tea. The team loves to travel and counts Germany, Poland, Kyrgyzstan and China as previous home bases.

Team Zissou USA
This team of four take their inspiration from the eccentric oceanographer in Wes Anderson’s The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. Based in Denver, the teammates’ motivations to participate in the Rally range from discovering a new species of beer to exacting revenge. The team plans to use a rickshaw for the Rally and then donate it to a low-income family in Mongolia to help them develop a new income stream.

Yearning for Yurts
Based in New York, this team includes a serious motorcyclist and a traveler who has logged miles in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. The two have already begun prepping for the Rally by participating in the Finger Lakes Rally run by the BMW Motorcycle Owners Club in Watkins Glen, New York.

The Creeping Blandness Prevention Group
This team of three has already exceeded their fundraising goal for the Rally! The team includes a postdoc at Oxford, who brings map-making skills and a sense of direction to the team; a professional photographer with irrespressible enthusiasm, and a third member who not only is studying water and land management in Central Asia as a graduate student in California, but also happens to also have in her possession the book, "Teach Yourself Serbo-Croatian". The jury’s out on whether the book will be cracked before the Rally.

The Rolling Cones
This daring group of five is driving an ice cream truck across two continents. Contributing factors to their success in the rally include: one member can solder and read circuit diagrams, while another is a polyglot who can make meaningless gestures in several different languages. Check out their ice cream chariot.

Team Mongolritaville
Hailing from just outside Minneapolis, Team Mongolritaville includes a father and two sons. While David, the father, is the one most expected to provoke a border guard and be put away in a Kazakh prison for suspicion of international espionage, son Kelly is the one most expected to be shot by English (or French) border guards while trying to enter the country, son Cary is the sane, laid back mastermind of the group looking to perfect his golf game on the steppes of Mongolia. In true Jimmy Buffet style, they are looking forward to mounting a giant shark fin to their rally car, waterskiing through every country en route, with or without water, and collecting cheap souvenirs from Uzbekistani bars.

Team Canadialand
This team of two from Vancouver, BC seek out new and wild adventures. Together they bring a penchant for languages and gestures (for inquiring about bathroom facilities along the route) and expertise in medieval and military survival strategies. If they get their car mounted with a TV and VCR, they may fulfill a dream of bringing Roadrunner cartoons to the masses!

Rubik Crew
This wild duo bring surprising skills to their Mongol Rally team Rubik Crew. From a keen ability for Pun Tournaments to artistry and mechanics, the pair from Venice and Santa Monica, California plan to document their adventure with photos and text. Look for them on the road in their giant Rubik’s cube of a car.