READY FOR ROAD Tara Clarke and Paul Lavelle with their Nissan Micra.
Not many people can say they drove from Westport to Iran, but even fewer can say they did it in a 16-year-old, one- litre Nissan Micra worth €500.
Local trio Paul Lavelle, Tara Clarke and Liesa Didoff are about to embark on an epic journey taking them across the globe.
The infamous ‘Mongol Rally’ which began in 2004 saw just six teams taking part in its inaugural year.
The event would usually take teams to Mongolia in search of the finish line but the organisers decided it best to finish in Georgia this year in light of the war unfolding in Ukraine.
The rally is now an international charitable event and sees teams driving from Prague to Tbilisi, Georgia via one or more ‘poles of inconvenience’. Participants come from across the world in search of extreme adventure and sheer madness. There is no assigned route or support of any kind, as competitors navigate their own way across two continents.
“We’re three friends – two from Westport and one from Germany,” explained Tara. “We were in search of wild adventure but also wanting to give back to a community that has been rocked by Covid lockdowns and ever growing socio-economic pressures. We also wanted to show support and raise awareness for a unique mental health charity that provides a one-to-one service in a sector that is grossly neglected. To date, we have fundraised over €1,000 for that chosen charity, Carmha, a charity committed to providing peer support to people with mental health issues and addiction problems.”
On Monday next, July 11, the trio now dubbed ‘The Flamin Mongrels‘ will leave Westport, embarking from Dún Laoghaire and begin their trip to Georgia, via Iran. Travelling in their one-litre Nissan Micra, loaded with provisions, spares, fuel, and camping tents, the crew are well aware that such a trip doesn’t come without its problems.
Paul Lavelle says: “We’ve been planning the trip since the turn of the year and it’s time now to put the car to the test. It’s been a great learning experience getting the motor prepped, a big shout out to all our friends and family that have helped us in this regard.”
This weekend the team will have their trusty steed in Westport town for a pre-event send off. So make sure to say drop by and say hello and get a picture with them before they head for the high hills and far-off middle Eastern desert.
To follow the journey and keep track of their mad story, follow on Facebook and Instagram under ‘The Flamin Mongrels’. The link to their idonate page is also on the social media channels.