Kublai Kooks - Mongol Rally 2017
Day Zero - July 15, 2017
London, England to Goodwin Racetrack
Country count: 1
KM/Mile count: 0
(Don't fret, this should be the longest post of the trip...by far!)
Finally, after a year of planning and what felt like a year in London, the Kublai Kooks (KK) got to the to Goodwin Racetrack. London was a blast where they all finally got to meet each other and get a do a bit of Buckfast fueled bonding (aka get drunk off of caffeine endured Monk made read wine), run around Brixton in budgy smugglers and try to fight waitresses. Everyone got to catch up with old friends also randomly in the big city and have, for some of them, a glimpse of our two new beautiful Skodas that will carry them 22,000 km in two months.
John (Scotland), Mike (New Zealand), and Andy (Australia/USA) drove all met up in Edinburgh where the cars' journeys began. And that's where the breakdowns started. Luckily John, the Kooks ace mechanic, was able make quick repairs and will probably be the reason the kook cars will make it to the finish line. With all the modifications and the new sticker jobs, these gems were starting to look real deal rally cars!
Waiting in London was Josh (Australia) and following a few days later was Geej (Canada) and Pete (Canada). Pete was subbing in for Joel (USA) until they could pick him up in Paris and made a fine honorary Kook. Donations for First Descents, Cool Earth, and GoFundMe starting pouring in from friends and family and the Kooks were ecstatic with the support. They peppered the car with donor names and will continue to do so until they finish. Not all their visas had been sorted as hoped before they left but Goodwin Racetrack
Arriving into Goodwin, the team was ushered into a makeshift campground where they really started to get a sense of the adventure they were about to embark on. With horn a'blarin' they made their entrance ripping to the near front of the pack. All the cars were geared up, painted up, sticker covered, fur engulfed, boat topped, and/or masked with anything that would give them false confidence that their cars will make it.
No rest for the weary, the Kooks knew they had to show these fellow rallies how to party. Time to crush cans as it may be the last time they see many of these teams. While most do a straight shot across to the Czech Republic and do the southern route to Mongolia, KK with take the northern route covering 30 countries and be weeks behind anyone (breakdowns aside.)
Dressed in the Shinesty swag, the Kooks were definitely looking top form. Rally cars kept coming in hour after hour filling up the field with 340 odd vehicles ranging from motorbikes to ice cream trucks. Aisles were filled with ralliers checking out the other cars and the meet & greet was on. With shades on and Buckfast in hand, KK took note of the competition yet managed to make a few allies. Their newly named rides, YACKS (Yankee, Aussie, Canuck, Kiwi, Scotsman) and Meandering Millie, lay wait - one more sleep.
(The cars were named by the two biggest donors to date: Thanks to everyone whose helped us so far. Keep it coming!)
The night began with some traditional Mongolian singing followed by speeches from the Adventurists who put on this race (and a few others around the world.) The jist of the talk was as follows. "This trip ain't for everyone. Not all of you will finish. You're cars will break down - again and again and again. People have been injured, paralyzed and have died doing this race. You will never forget this Now lets get wasted and wrestle!"
He wasn't kidding, next event - Mongolian wrestling. Luckily for the Kooks, Geej had already geared down to his Shinesty buggy smugglers and volunteered to wrestle a Mongolian giant on behalf of the team. With a hundreds of ralliers cheering him on, and face that could only be described as determined, he chased the Mongol around the ring and had him on the ropes right until the end. The final result would go the country who would rally was named after though Geej would tell you he eased up at the end and let him win.
The opening party was complete mayhem and a bit of a blur. All gave thanks to Josh for filming it all then promptly losing his phone - probably saved them a few embarrassing viral videos. "These cupcakes are great!!" Geej proceeded to tear up the dance floor while John's mission to reach the top of the dance tent started a trend. But Andy?! Well Andy may have taken the cake.
One Faulkner + one surfboard + one Kook Kar = This ain't going to end well.
"I got this."
"Mikey, we got insurance on the windscreen? F**k!" End transmission. The fellas got to race in the morning.