Mongol Rally: Crappy Cars Only

Today at noon in London’s Hyde Park, a handful of cars will embark on an 8,000 mile rally from England’s capital to the heart of Mongolia. What differentiates Mongol Rally from other long distance rallies, however, is that anyone can participate.

This is not a high-end race event where uber-expensive, supped-up automobiles with a host of support teams and the latest high-tech gear blow past poor African farmers wondering what the hell just came and went. No, this is a charity event where participants are actually fined if they modify their cars too much. Team Genghis Carnage, for example, will be driving a 1988 Nissan Micra which will undoubtedly have its share of problems in the harsh Mongolian steppes (or the streets of London, for that matter).

This is such a wonderful idea. Winning is not the aim of this event, but rather helping those less fortunate around the world. Instead of the above-mentioned poor African receiving a face-full of dust, he just might receive a cow instead. One of the major charities is Send a Cow. This organization “gives direct, practical help to poor farmers in Africa, by providing, cows and other livestock, training in livestock rearing and organic farming, and low-cost veterinary and advice services.”

So, give a cheer for Team Dude Where’s My Camel, Island Monkeys, The Fabled Hunters of the Mongolian Death Worm, Genghis the Menace, and many others as they head east towards Mongolia.