Tim Hill and Martyn Riley are taking on an epic 10,000-mile challenge to raise funds for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) and conservation charity Cool Earth in a 1977 Rickman Ranger kit car which had been rusting in a shed for nearly a quarter of a century.
Keen sailors, Tim and Martyn, who have homes in Lewis and Harris, were working on a boat at Stornoway marina when the idea to drive from the Hebrides to Mongolia in the Mongol Rally was first floated.
“Tim mentioned the rally to me when we were working and I, naively, asked what it involved,” said Martyn. “He replied that you had to find an old car and drive it unsupported all the way to Mongolia!”
Leaving from Stornoway lifeboat station at 1pm on July 7th, Tim and Martyn will first drive to Prague for the official start of the Rally on Sunday, July 15th.
Arranged by extreme travel company The Adventurists, the Mongol Rally sees Tim and Martyn drive through Europe and on into Turkey, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, and Tajikistan amongst other countries, to arrive in Ulaanbaatar in Mongolia – and then continue a further 400 miles north to the official rally finish line in the Siberian town of Ulan-Ude. And if that wasn’t adventure enough, they hope to return home the long way round, detouring through Russia and Scandinavia.
“We’re both fairly well-travelled, I’ve travelled in South America, around Europe and the Far East, but these are new territories for us both,” said Tim.
As the Mongol Rally is a self-supporting venture, the Rickman Ranger drivers have been busy with preparations, both mechanical and administrative, as Tim continued: “Sorting out visas has taken up a lot of time. We had to go to the Russian Embassy in Edinburgh to have our fingerprints taken for the visa, and it feels like we’ve spent as much time on the visas as we have sorting out the car!”
The Rickman Ranger kit car had been stored in a shed 23 years earlier and still had its 1993 tax disc on the windscreen. Only the galvanised steel chassis and fibre glass body were still anywhere near fit for purpose.
Tim and Martyn are restoring the Rickman Ranger, ensuring that the engine runs smoothly, replacing parts as required, and preparing the old car for the long and rough road ahead.
“We’ve been enjoying ourselves getting the car ready,” said Martyn. “We both like working on mechanical projects and one of the best things about the Rickman is that there are no computers on board – it means it should be easy to fix, even in the middle of the Gobi Desert.”
Tim and Martyn aim to raise at least £3,000 through their Outer Hebrides to Outer Mongolia adventure, with 100% of funds raised being split between two charities: Cool Earth and the RNLI.
The Adventurists charity of choice, Cool Earth, is working to halt rainforest destruction by working alongside indigenous villages, educating and support local communities to put them back in control with the resources they need to keep their rainforest intact.
And, as they spend time sailing, the RNLI is Tim and Martyn’s selected charity, as Martyn said: “Last year I was out when the engine of my RIB packed up in Loch Seaforth and Stornoway RNLI came out to me. Luckily I’d been helped by a local fishing boat and the lifeboat had been stood down before it reached me, but it was really not a good night to be at sea and without the RNLI such a situation could have turned out so differently.”
You can find out more about Tim and Martyn’s Outer Hebrides to Outer Mongolia challenge, including work completed on the Rickman Ranger, at the Facebook page www.facebook.com/RRMR2018
And you can donate to the Adventurists charity Cool Earth online at www.coolearth.org/campaigns/21106/the-rickmaneers-mongol-rally-2018; and to the RNLI at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/therickmaneers