England to Mongolia: Durham boys will drive 11,000 miles for charity

The car cost 900 quid

Three lads, self-styled as The Durham Mongols, Ben Taylor, Michael Dicks and James Tufnell will be driving a 30 year-old, orange Suzuki from London to Mongolia this summer for charity.

The epic journey is approximately 11,000 miles, most of which will be off-road and is expected to take the Hild Bede third years about a month and a half.
The trip, which they’ve named Pist’n Broke will take them through Europe, Turkey, Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Russia and finally the entirety of the Gobi Desert to the Mongolian capital Ulaanbaatar to the east.

The rally is completely unsupported so they will have to fend for themselves in some of the world’s harshest terrain. Naming their £900 Suzuki SJ410 ‘Takeshi,’ they admit it’s in a terrible condition.

So poor, in fact, that it broke down on it’s way back from Wales, leaving them stranded in the middle of nowhere.Takeshi didn't make it homeThe boys are also running the Blackpool Marathon, and doing the Three Peaks Challenge to raise extra money for charity.

The Tab spoke to James, to find out more.

It’s a pretty crazy trip. Why are you doing this?

“Probably to give Mikey something more interesting to talk about than his Chelsea parking permit, Tribe, and champagne society. To be honest, I find it bizarre when people question why young men do these things. What is so strange about a handful of 21 year olds wanting to go on a little adventure?

“To make it seem not so frivolous we are going to raise money for Justice and Care who rehabilitate victims of slavery and sex trafficking. There are more slaves in the world know than any other period of history and we think sex crime is a grossly under examined and understood topic.”


James, you’re no stranger to doing stupid things for charity. What did your parents say when you told them?

“I know Ben’s just refuse to talk about it dismissing it as stupid. Mikey’s I think, rather like Mikey just thought it was funny. Whereas mine have just resigned themselves to the fact that I do these things now, with a response of ‘Must you?’ rather than anything else. ”

What do you think will be the hardest bit?

“Trying not to be arrested as a collective… The amount of border posts we’ll have to go through will be silly by the end. Also Iran is notoriously difficult to get through.

“We’ll have to have a guide and moreover, we’ll have to be sober throughout because alcohol is banned.”


Have you ever done anything like this before?

“Mikey has driven through France a few times but notoriously broke his sat-nav in Calais trying to find the ferry and ended up accidentally driving to Belgium. Ben only drove his VW UP! outside of Pinner for the first time last year.

“And I consider driving in anything larger than a small Cotswold Village to be the most terrifying thing on earth.”

Who do you think will be the most annoying on the trip?

“Depends on the situation. I think we shall all have our moments. Mikey’s semi inappropriate comments may wear thin by the end, as will inevitably DJ Dicks’/Big Nipper Radio’s generic house music playlists, which seem to only have the same five songs on them.

“Other than that provided Ben doesn’t lose all his possessions again and I eventually stop saying my ‘tragic’ comments about how beautiful views are and develop a mental age exceeding that of a five year old then we should be fine.”

You can donate to James, Mikey, and Ben on their Just Giving Page, and you can follow their progress on their blog.