A Hitchhiker’s Guide- Meet Team VAJ

The Buzz meets Team VAJ and hears about their plans for Jailbreak and everything they encounter along the way.

Jailbreak rag UCL Jailbreak UCLU RAG

This Saturday almost 150 UCL students leave the main quad at 9am as they race against time to travel as far as they can in 36 hours and raise as much money as possible for Great Ormond Street Hospital and UCL Body and Soul.

Here at The Buzz we have secured an exclusive interview with one of the teams taking part, including some of the organisers of Jailbreak. We spoke to Team VAJ about their plans and preparation as they aim for deepest central Europe in their quest for victory.

Team VAJ consists of Valentin Ivonov, James Gibbins and Assel Kashkenbayeva- how did they get involved in Jailbreak?

James- I got involved at the beginning of term with RAG and Jailbreak just seemed like great fun and it was for a good cause- what wasn’t to like?

Valentin- I actually ended up on the committee by accident when I attended the wrong meeting! Having said that I haven’t regretted a minute of it, it’s been fantastic fun.

Assel- I took part last year when I was at Leicester Uni, we got as far as Aberdeen having hitched a ride to Luton Airport on the Leicester FC team coach and then flew north. We even managed to blag a stay in a five star hotel and got a free breakfast!

So how has the organisation of Jailbreak gone?

James- Really well, it’s been pretty much plain sailing. We’ve had a large team of people working on it and it’s been easier second year around with the experience from last time. We’ve had loads of support too; Apple have loaned us laptops for free for teams to use to track their progress as well as iTunes vouchers as prizes.

Fantastic! How much are you aiming to raise in sponsorship?

Valentin- Hopefully £100-£200 per person, it’s all still coming in at the moment so it’s hard to know but we’re confident.

James- I raised £150 at a fire-walk earlier this year so we’re confident we can hit that sort of target again.

Without giving too much away, what are your plans?

James- Largely hitchhiking, although we might be able to get a coach or a train to Dover and from then it’ll be on to Calais picking up lifts along the way as we head further into Europe. We have a final destination in mind, but that’s secret for now.

Assel- Getting out of London is the hardest part in many ways, we still haven’t fully figured that one out.

How’s preparation been?

James- Pretty good, we’ve got costumes sorted and we’re taking some cardboard and marker pens to make signs as well as a whiteboard so we can keep changing what we want to say without too much effort.

Valentin- We’ve got a lot of different routes planned once we hit Calais, at the end of the day we can’t afford to be too picky!

And once you get to Europe- you’re all linguists so that shouldn’t be a problem?

Assel- I have a tiny amount of German…

James- Je ne comprends pas- the one French phrase every British person knows.

Finally, sleep or no sleep?

James- No way, we might be able to catch a few hours if we’re taking long car journeys but we can’t really afford to, 36 hours isn’t long.

So that’s the inside track from one of the teams departing on Saturday morning and we at The Buzz will keep you updated. Look out for a follow up interview with Team VAJ next week after they’ve returned from their adventure.

If you want to sponsor Valentin, Assel and James you can log onto www.raise2give.com/rag-jailbreak-2012. To sponsor Valentin add /the-saussbauss to the end of the address. To sponsor Assel add /assel-kashkenbayeva. To sponsor James add /jamesgibbins.