Thursday, February 24, 2005

Panda enthusiasts!

Today has seen the arrangement of our first 'shit car' meet up - a planned rendevous for Birmingham based Mongol Rally competitors - to take place at our local pub, a week on monday. Some not inconsiderable drama took place today regarding the insurance on the car as well - but suffice to say that 'all's well that ends well'. Special thanks today to Tracey - who has donated generously to the cause.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Livery

Don't lean on that door too hard, Benny!Our first corporate sponsors now have their name emblazoned on the Panda, so business readers get in touch - there's only so many panels on the car. Here's a pic of Ben and our glorious Racetext sponsor logo.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Checks and Sparks

So this thing is taking us to Mongolia right?!?!Today we met up for a bit of tinkering. With a quick trip to Halfords we picked up a set of Champion Double Copper plugs and a lot of ideas. We also managed to take an amble round a scrap yard and find a Panda that looked like it should live in a scrap yard, or as if it had just been driven half way round the world.
We managed to rattle through some of the standard servicing checks before moving on to the plugs.
Our first minor engine upgrade went without a hitch, next we'll swap the distributor cap and HT leads and thats pretty much covered the ignition.
Now, if I just turn this bit here....Ross pointed out that we might want to replace the cylinder head gasket. He seemed to think that engine oil coating the lower half of the block below the gasket was a bad sign. Other ideas to think about are air filters, ICE, rally lights and battery.
We'd also like to say a big thank-you to Alex for his sponsorship, and for a few potential contacts towards Russia. Welcome back Alex, top man.
So remind me again, what the hell is this bit?Finally, Happy Birthday Rich. He was 29 on Wednesday. That's nearly thirty!!! Shouldn't you stop messing round with cars and adventures by that age. Anyway, I managed to get him a 95 piece tool set for the car, in a totally non-selfish gesture.
P.S. If you want to leave a message on this page you can by clicking on the comment link below.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

RACETEXT Rule!!!

RACETEXTMany thanks to Race Text for getting the ball rolling with a generous sponsorship offer. They've sponsored us to carry two of their stickers on the doors of our car.
RACETEXT enables sports events to publish results and event information, run polls, competitions, auctions and interactive marketing campaigns to mobile phone users. The service makes events more engaging for audiences in attendance, extends their reach to audiences that are not, and increases revenue opportunity for promoters. Paul Worrall, RACETEXT Founder and Managing Director, wishes Team Mongolian Job the best of luck and one piece of advice; "Keep the pedal to the metal!" - www.racetext.net

Special thanks also to our first three private sponsors, Berwyn, Sam and Simon, and our first wish list contributions - a nice piece of gadretry from Robin and the loan of an offroaders book from Barry.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

2005 or bust

We've now both had it cleared by our kind and generous bosses at work, our colleagues are sniggering at us behind our backs, and in hushed tones they are all divvying up our space and belongings in the firm belief that we will spend the rest of our lives lost in the Gobi desert.

We will be starting our 999cc engine on the 30th July 2005, and heading east in search of adventure, glory and bed sores on our bums.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Proper website launched

Over the past few days Ben and I have put together our official website. Ben did all the nice design and I've been helping out with the content and general editorial/tidying stuff. Now that this is up and running, we can concentrate our efforts on the publicity and sponsorship drive (and of course, learning how a car works, learning French, Flemish, German, Polish, Latvian, Lithuanian, Russian, Kazakhstani, Krygistani and Mongolian languages and advanced navigational skills etc, etc).

I hope to have final confirmation from work as to whether I can go this year or not, within the next 24hrs. If I get the go ahead - then it'll be all hands to the pump - as we only have 166 days to prepare. The homepage of the site now provides a countdown to the start of the event.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Legal and running

Last night marked the monumental unveiling of the engine compartment. In our excitement to get the Panda bought, we entirely forgot to check the engine over - preferring instead a short test drive followed by the relinquishing of cash. So last night we swapped the planning confines of the pub, for the garage and driveway, as we thoroughly checked our steed over. Once we figured out how to release the bonnet - we marvelled at how tiny the engine was (so small that there's room for the spare wheel in the engine compartment too!). Then we shopped for the cheapest possible insurance, a measly £110. Once sorted - it was onto the road - and we successfully completed 2 laps of the housing estate I live on. No real incidents. Aside from non-effective headlights, the car went well. The 4x4 feels strong - and the only problem was that of contact between the Yokahama's (tyres) and the arches. Presumably this will only get worse as the car gets further weighed down - so one of our first modifications is likely to be administered using a hacksaw.
Tonight see's our first 'business' meeting - a pub liaison with someone with contacts in the rally and sticker making areas.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Planning, planning, planning

Its been all go since the weekend, with planning meetings every evening thus far. Its been one big brainstorming effort. We now have 6 sides of typed A4, full of ideas, requirements and contacts, so there's a good deal of work ahead.


We've also decided upon our official team name - 'Team Mongolian Job'

The final decision on whether to compete in 2005 or 2006 is set to be made by the start of next week.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Dig deep

We'll be adding a 'donate' page to the menu. I know the details are far from finalised but if we go for the 2005 event we need to get our skates on. And if we go on the 2006 event instead, then it's never to early to start getting donations. The event organisers have decided to split the money between two charities:
The first is the Send A Cow who send high-yield animals to families in the poorest areas of Africa.
The second is as yet undecided. However the organisers of MongolRally are currently working with the British Embassy in Mongolia to select an equally excellent charity working in Mongolia.
We have to raise £1000 in sponsorship in order to qualify for the race, but aim to get in quite a bit more. I will keep you updated on our running total.
At the moment the paypal link is fairly basic but as soon as we have settled on a team name and improved this site, I will add features such as a thank-you page etc. There will be a field to send us a note. If you want to include your name, and or email in this field we can publish a list of sponsors on this site.
If you would like to donate larger amounts or talk about vehicle sponsorship opportunites then please feel free to get in touch by email.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Panda procurement

My, don't things move at pace! Today saw the purchase of the rally vehicle. Predictably, given that the website is called 'Across the globe in a Fiat Panda' - Ben and I chose a Fiat Panda, with which...to go across the globe. So fully 48 hours after deciding to participate in the adventure - the wheels are procured.
Special thanks must go out at this stage to Ross (Ben's bother), who drove the team down to Dover from Birmingham in the early hours of this morning to collect the car on a trailer - kindly supplied by his friend Scott (thanks) And also to my mother who has kindly allowed the short term storage of the vehicle in her garage.

So. What does the bad boy look like then. Well. Some pictures will follow. For those that haven't checked the official rally site yet, you won't be aware that the idea is to use as shitty a car as possible (and it must be less than 1000 cc, so don't be alarmed by what you see next!

(pics may not appear just yet - something up with server)

Emotional scenes in Dover when the Panda is collected:


Here it is. Ready and loaded:


Interestingly, we plan to drive it 8,000miles across the globe, but didn't have the confidence to get it from Dover back to Birmingham!


Early acclimatisation for the wee fella - we took it to the countryside:


Next up is to register and insure it, learn how to drive it, repair it, rebuild it - how to earn £1500, learn russian, survive in the desert and much much more.
The next post we make will have a final decision about whether to compete in 2006 or 2005.

Friday, February 04, 2005

A plan is born

Yesterday a monunmental decision was made. Ben and Rich will be competing in the 2005 or 2006 Mongol Rally. Either 6 or 18 months of preparation and excitement are about to begin - as they prepare to traverse the globe, from London to Ulaan Bataar in Mongolia....in a Fiat Panda.

Watch here for tales of developments, fundraising, car buying and modification, in what promises to be a completely barmy journey.