Saturday May 15 2021



In Full . . .

Mongolia or bust!

Posted on January 31 2016 at 11:08:41

Crushed car

A crushed car is just one more obstacle in an extreme rally challenge.

When you’ve signed up for a 10,000-mile road trip to Mongolia, the last thing you need is to have your vehicle crushed by a 60-foot tree. . . but three intrepid students have vowed not to let this misfortune get in the way of their plans.

Alvechurch resident Zaki Al-Khamiri and his friends Johnny Mockett and Edd Garbett are due to embark on the famous Mongol Rally in July, in Johnny’s 1987 Volkswagen Polo, travelling through 19 countries and raising cash for four charities.

The team – collectively known as “Han Polo and the Mongolian Falcon” – are seeking sponsorship to help them fund the trip, which is described as “not a race but a challenge to test the resolve and initiative of the participants.”

That challenge now involves major repairs, as well as preparing the car for the journey and gathering all the necessary equipment such as spare parts and camping gear.

“The car’s been going strong for nearly 30 years, only to get squashed by a tree a few months before the rally,” laments Johnny, who is in his final year at Manchester Metropolitan University, studying Mechanical Engineering.

Zaki is a third-year Business Studies student at Coventry University, while Edd is in his final year of Sports Coaching and PE at Cardiff Met – the trio went to school together in Stourbridge.

The rally sees participants traversing mountains, deserts and steppes with no set route, backup or support of any kind – the only rules are that vehicles must have an engine of one litre or smaller, and that teams must raise at least £1,000 for charity.

Organisers insist that at least £500 be donated to Cool Earth, a charity that works alongside indigenous tribes to prevent deforestation, and the Han Polo team have also decided to raise money for the Alzheimer’s Society, spinal research charity Wings for Life, and The Royal British Legion.

Starting in London on July 17, they plan to drive through France, Belgium, Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Russia, finally arriving in Ulaanbaatar in late August.

“If you are able to help us with sponsorship or equipment, we are willing to plaster your branding all over the car!” says Zaki. “Or to make a charitable donation, please visit our Just Giving Page.”

Contact the team by emailing .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

More information at:

Above: Edd, Zaki and Johnny model T-shirts in support of the Royal British Legion, while showing off the squashed Polo outside Zaki’s home in Alvechurch

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