The Mongol Rally BoysThursday 23 July 2015, by The Media Team
We spoke with Matthew Gourley, who taking part in the Mongol Rally with his mates. Andrew Bennett and Jordan Barr. The trio, known as ‘Car of the County Down’ will be driving over 10,000 miles from Northern Ireland to Mongolia to raise money for TinyLife, Northern Ireland’s charity for premature babies.
The Mongol Rally sounds quite daunting, what made you guys decide to embark on it?
We came across a 90 second promo video for the Mongol Rally, made by the organisers, on Facebook about 20 months ago. I then sent this video to Andrew and Jordan and it has just evolved from there.
Have any of you guys been on long road trips before?
Our only previous ‘road trip’ experience was part of our preparation for this trip as we drove to Donegal in the Republic of Ireland for the Donegal International Rally. This also gave us a chance to test the tent out as we stayed for the night.
What sort of preparation are you guys undertaking before you leave?
In terms of preparation, we have spent the last four months applying for various visas, which has seen us travel to Edinburgh to get fingerprints taken for a Russian Visa. In terms of the car, we have put on a sump guard, added a roof rack, changed the alternator belt and modified the car so that the brake and fuel lines now run through the car rather than under it, so they are no longer exposed.
Why did you pick Gumtree to find the car?
We picked Gumtree because we thought it would be a reliable way to find cars that were local. It also allowed us to easily contact the seller directly to arrange a viewing etc. The Micra we bought was the second car we viewed, the first was one we also found on Gumtree.
Have you used Gumtree before?
I have used gumtree a few times to sell trailers for my Grandad and Dad but I had never purchased anything through the site until this Micra.
What qualities were you looking for in a rally car?
One of the rules of the rally is that the car should be 1.0l or less which limited our options. As the car is most likely to break down in the Asian leg of our trip (due to poor road quality) we felt getting an Asian car would be best as it would be better to source parts for.
What made you settle on this Micra?
We viewed another Micra before buying this one but we weren’t satisfied with the quality of it and felt it would take more work. The Micra we eventually bought had been put through the M.O.T the month beforehand and it was in good condition for a car that was 14 years old.
How did you find the sellers of the car/ ease of buying through Gumtree?
We found it very easy to buy the car on gumtree. We had sourced various Micras across Northern Ireland and we were able to compare them by price, mileage, M.O.T, etc and eventually we picked some to contact the sellers. Luckily we were able to find success with our second viewing.
Which part of the trip are you most looking forward to?
We are most looking forward to the Pamir Highway, a 5 day mountain pass in the Pamir Mountains (part of the Greater Himalayas) which will take us along the border with Afghanistan and China. The Highway itself runs through Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan.
Tell us why you’ve chosen TinyLife as your charity
We went for Tiny Life as it is a local charity to us in Northern Ireland and they do a lot of work with various families affected by the birth of unhealthy or premature babies.
Who is the risk taker/voice of reason in the group?
In regards to the risk taker/voice of reason questions we don’t really have a voice of reason among us as we are all very similar.
Will you be sharing the driving responsibility evenly?
Yea, we are all confident drivers with a few years experience each so we are planning to share the driving as equally as possible.
Finally, favourite thing about Mongolia?
One thing about Mongolia we are looking forward to is the vast Steppes. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to drive across the Steppes, with no civilisation for hundreds of miles.
Please visit www.justgiving.com/carofthecountydown to support Car of the County Down.