We Just Set Off On The Mongol Rally And There Are 10,000 Miles To Go
Photography by Jayson Fong
The moment had finally arrived. After a year of planning, fantasizing, sleepless nights, and countless scraped knuckles, Penelope the Austin Mini had made it to the Mongol Rally launch at the Goodwood circuit. Hell, the feat of actually getting her there to the starting line was a victory.
The preparation was filled with many long nights of fitting her with adjustable suspension, cleaning up the shoddy wiring (I’ll admit: not very well), giving her some nice new disk brakes, and ordering spare parts that I would anticipate would go wrong. All of this on top of planning the route, getting the necessary visas, gathering the right supplies, and most importantly, getting Penelope shipped to the UK. It was an exhausting year.
However, pulling into that circuit felt like a weight had been lifted off of my chest. All of the work had payed off until this point. The car was running strong and I had all the necessary paperwork and supplies I think I needed. Granted, I still have the job getting her 10,000 miles to Ulaanbaatar, but hey—I will take victoires where they come.
I’ll admit that driving through the corale of ridiculously impractical cars helped quell the underlying anxiety I have had for the last year. There was everything from small European econo-boxes with a taxidermy moose strapped to its roof, to a fellow American team with a Ford Falcon, and even a Berkeley T60. That guy made the Mini seem like a Cadillac.
The venue was filled with immediate camaraderie and positive energy. Numbers were being exchanged, caravans were being formed. The more people I talked to, the more my confidence grew about getting Penelope to the finish line.
There was a general consensus throughout all the teams at the difficulty and scale of the task at hand, but with each other’s support it slightly increases the chance of success.
I now know that when I eventually breakdown—because it is in fact a 46 year old British car—there is bound to be some team with a boat or bathtub strapped to their roof nearby that will lend its assistance. Plus, who could say no to a Mini?
Follow the team: The boys are on Instagram. Follow them @peoplewithpenelope and at #peoplewithpenelope for live updates and shenanigans.