After months of planning, the Kiwi Nomad team is about to jet off on a charity trip that will see them trek across 22 countries.
Local man Graeme Blair will join four of his childhood friends next month on a 16,000km rally from Brussels to Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia, to raise funds for the New Zealand Prostate Foundation and UK adventure charity, GoHelp.
Traversing five mountain ranges and three deserts over about 40 days, the five blokes — who have all recently celebrated their 60th birthdays — are ready for the challenge.
The Kiwi Nomads — made up of Jim Davis, Phil Trengrove, Blair, Mike Trengrove and Terence Coakley — have already purchased an ambulance and a Hilux Ute, which they will travel in for the duration of the rally.
Davis and Blair, who is the Dairy Holdings Ltd Mid Canterbury farm operations manager, will leave for London on Saturday where they will pick up the vehicles, and undertake some prep-work before the rest of the group arrive.
The whole team leaves from Brussels on July 1.
When they arrive at the finish line in Mongolia, the vehicles will be donated to the government, which will ensure it gets to communities that need the support the most.
“It’s getting very close now,” said Davis.
“The planning is all going reasonably well, and we have all our visas through, but the Chinese one. We’re 99 per cent there at the end of the day and we should have everything done. We’ll play it by air.”
They will also need to be fairly flexible when it comes to packing their suitcases.
While it will be the height of summer, they have been told to expect temperatures of between 35-40 degrees Celsius in Iran; and unknown conditions through the mountain passes.
“You have to plan for a bit of everything,” Davis said.
“You can’t book accommodation because we don’t know where we will get to each time.
“It can take one or 10 hours to cross a border and changes from place to place. In essence, we’re winging it.”
They’ve also been warned about the state of the roads they will be driving, are recommended not to drive at night and a guide is advised for travelling through Iran.
About 15 teams leave from Brussels on July 1, but as everyone takes their own route, Davis says it is unlikely the Kiwi Nomad team will see them again until the finish line.
“Some might go left at the first set of traffic lights, some might go right,” he said.
“The whole thing is to get the vehicles there.”
The team has been overwhelmed with the number of donations they received, including a defibrillator, which they will gift to charity at the end of the trip.
He estimates, to put everything into a monetary value, they’ve probably raised about $100,000 worth.
“We’re on the homeward stretch now,” he says.
“We’re hugely grateful to all the donors. A truckload of people have got in behind and will make it all worthwhile.
“It’s a boys’ trip with a charity element.”
- Ashburton Guardian