Wanaka pair taking the scenic route

Sat, 14 Apr 2018 | Latest News
| Image 1 of 1 |
Wanaka-based Megan Taylor and Dylan O’Neill will join two other friends on the Mongol Rally, from Prague to Russia, in a 1000cc car, raising money for two charities and having an epic adventure. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

There will be no back-up, no support crews, minimal tarmac and no easy-route options supplied by organisers.

That's the cold hard reality facing Wanaka friends Megan Taylor and Dylan O'Neill as they prepare for the Mongol Rally from Prague to Siberia.

Taylor (19) and O'Neill (25) will join Ralph Gallyer, of Taranaki, and Woody Bradley, of Palmerston North, in The Dusty Kiwis team.

Together they will buy a small car in England - race rules stipulate cars must have an engine capacity of no more than one litre - just a few weeks before the July 16 rally start.

Taylor and O'Neill, who both work for Skydive Wanaka, agree breakdowns are inevitable on the 16,000km adventure of a lifetime.

While none of the foursome have much mechanical know-how, they plan to ask Taylor's dad, a rally car builder in Cromwell, for some advice, watch You Tube tutorials on car maintenance and repairs and read Mechanics for Dummies, O'Neill said, with a laugh. The annual charity rally starts in Prague, Czech Republic, and finishes in Ulan-Ude, Siberia.

However, where the participants go in between is up to them as there is no set route and no set finishing date. Organisers simply say the finish line opens on August 10.

he Kiwi contingent plans to take the southern option to get in a little sightseeing before they cross steep mountain terrain and vast deserts traversing the Eurasian Steppe, through Mongolia, before finally finishing in Siberia months, rather than weeks, later.

The Mongol Rally website vehemently dismisses ‘‘tarmac, ABS and gadgets that help you find your navel'' and says the rally is instead about ‘‘getting lost, using your long neglected wits, raising shed-loads of cash for charity and scraping into the finish line with your vehicle in tatters and a wild grin smeared across your grubby face''.

So rather than a race, it's more a feat of endurance?

‘‘You've won if you actually get to the finish line,'' Taylor said. She was unfazed about being the sole female among four high school buddies and reasoned ‘‘there has to be at least one'' in a team to provide some balance to the testosterone.

The Dusty Kiwis must raise at least £1000 ($NZ1930) for charity and the rally organisers have specified Cool Earth, which works with local communities around the world to protect rainforests and find ways in which humans and nature can work together sustainably.

The Dusty Kiwis have also selected their own charity, the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand.

Taylor hopes their adventure might provide positive messages to help encourage anyone who is stuck in a rut to ‘‘dream big''.

‘‘Get out there and see what life is about. Make amazing friends, see amazing things. Open your eyes and open your soul,'' she said.

The Dusty Kiwis have set up a Givealittle page, a website www.thedustykiwis2018.wixsite.com/ home and a Facebook page so New Zealanders can fund and follow their journey.