A husband and wife are set to embark on a ‘honeymoon with a difference,’ taking on the world-famous Mongol Rally in a less-than-conventional marriage celebration.
Richard Weiss, a refueller with the Barwell Motorsport team in the Avon Tyres British GT Championship, and his soon-to-be bride, Sarah Curtis, decided to take on the Mongol challenge when they couldn’t come to an agreement on the perfect honeymoon destination.
More commonly found refuelling racing cars in the pit lane, idea of a perfect getaway was a skiing holiday, while Sarah had her heart set on a beach location.
So when she plucked the idea of a 10,000-mile cross-continent adventure out of the air, it seemed like an ideal solution.
The rules of the rally are simple; entrants must run a car that is less than 10 years old, with an engine of 1.2 litres or smaller. Once the cars reach the finish-line in Mongolia, the cars are then auctioned off by a local charity, with the proceeds of the auction being used to fund educational materials for young Mongolians.
The Mongol Rally is a real adventure; while there is a start point (Dover Castle, UK) and an end point (Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia), there are no designated checkpoints and teams must decide and navigate their own route.
Weiss has decided on a journey which will see him and his wife drive through France and Germany, heading east into the Czech Republic, continuing into Eastern Europe and arriving in Russia. From there, the team will begin its final leg of the adventure, driving through Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, before arriving in the Mongolian capital.
With the challenging road surfaces of the East in mind, the couple has called on Avon Tyres to help, opting for harder-wearing AV10 van tyres to be fitted to their Suzuki Alto. Aside from the new commercial tyres and the addition of a sump guard, very few changes have been made to the car.
Weiss said, “We’re covering the best part of half the world over five weeks or so and I just can’t wait to see it. I’ve never done anything on this scale before and we’re both very excited. We know that the further east we drive, the tougher the challenge will be, but we’re up for it.”
Weiss’s sister-in-law and her partner will also be taking part in the rally on Avon rubber. The crew plans to follow the same route as the Weisses in the 10,000-mile adventure.
Sarah McRoberts, Marketing Communications Manager for Cooper Tire Europe, commented, “When Richard approached us about the Mongol Rally, we leapt at the chance to help. Richard already has history with us, working with Barwell in the Avon Tyres British GT Championship, so it made perfect sense for us to support the two teams in the challenge, which is all in aid of a great cause.
“The Mongol Rally is a true test of grit and determination; there’s no such thing as an easy route to Ulaanbaatar as the road conditions in the surrounding countries are likely to be extremely poor. The decision to fit commercial vehicle tyres to the Alto is therefore a sensible move.”
As well as supporting local schools and education providers, the teams taking part in the rally are raising money for Cool Earth – the official charity of the Mongol Rally. Cool Earth works to protect the world’s rainforests, in the fight against climate change. For more information on the charity, please visit www.coolearth.org and to contribute to Richard and Sarah’s mission, please visit www.justgiving.com/sarah-curtis7.
The 2013 Mongol Rally begins from Dover Castle on Saturday, July 13 and ends in Ulaanbaatar. The average trip duration is between three to five weeks.