Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Destination Mongolia for students in £500 Skoda

THREE ‘tools’ and a ‘spanner’ are gearing up for a cross-continental trip in an old Skoda.

This weekend Simon Boddington from Harescombe will head off with his Southampton University mates from London to the capital of Mongolia - Ulaanbaatar, some 10,000 miles away.

Simon, Matt Hughes and Henry Sugden, known as the ‘tools’, are all studying for Masters degrees in physics, while the ‘spanner’, Prasana Uthayakumar is studying a masters degree in engineering.

Between them they should have the know-how to keep a 14-year-old Skoda Fabia estate on the road as they take part in the Mongol rally.

“It’s got 70,000 miles on the clock, six former owners, no service history and just one working lock, all bought for 500 quid,” said former Marling School pupil Simon.

“The plan is to warm up on a casual drive to Turkey, passing through France, Belgium, Germany, Czech Republic, Austria, Hungry, Romania and Bulgaria.

“The fun really begins once we leave Istanbul, Turkey, and enter Central Asia, where the temperatures range from minus 15 to 45 Celsius and there are few paved roads.

“We’ll be driving through Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, along the Pamir Highway, which follows the old silk road, along the border with Afghanistan.”

He said they are after a ‘proper challenge and a real adventure’.

“We’re attempting to drive through areas unspoiled by tourism, some of the least populated countries on the planet,” he said.

“We’re also attempting to raise some money for WaterAid and Cool Earth.

“WaterAid needs no introduction here, but Cool Earth is an environmental charity that works alongside indigenous villages to halt rainforest destruction.

“We aim to raise between £1,000 and £2,000 split between these two worthwhile causes.”

To follow the team’s progress and donate sponsorship money, visit

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