Irish team finishes 'Mongol Rally' after 15,000km journey

Craig O’Rourke & Ronan O’Neill from Wicklow have managed to raise more than €8,000 for charity so far

Irish team finishes 'Mongol Rally' after 15,000km journey

Straight Sideways team at the finish line

Two Irish adventurers have crossed the finish line in the 'Mongol Rally' - a 15,000km journey across Europe and Asia.

Craig O’Rourke & Ronan O’Neill from Blessington in Co Wicklow reached Ulan-Ude in Russia at around 2am this morning. They are the first Irish team to complete this year's rally.

The 'Straight Sideways' team - who were travelling in a 1992 Toyota Starlet they bought for €500 - finished the rally after driving 15,030km and visited 14 different countries.

The pair originally set off from the UK on July 17th 2016.

Described as the "greatest motoring adventure", the Mongol Rally is not a traditional race and has no winners. 

There is no set route and no support offered, and instead participants are encouraged to enjoy the adventure and raise money for charity.

Image: Straight Sideways

Rally organisers The Adventurists say there are only three rules:

  • You can only take a farcically small vehicle
  • You’re completely on your own
  • You've got to raise £1,000 (€1,160) for charity

The event - which has been taking place since 2004 - originally finished in Mongolia, but now ends in Ulan-Ude, which is to the north of the Mongolian capital. 

Craig and Ronan travel through Mongolia on their way to the finish line, but other teams have been held up at the Russian-Mongolian border and apparently asked for deposits of around €5,000 to enter the country.

The teams have now been told the deposit has nothing to do with Mongolian customs, and they are hoping to enter Mongolia over the coming days.

The Straight Sideways team, meanwhile, have raised more than €8,000 for the Aoibeann’s Pink Tie foundation. 

You can read more about their efforts and donate here.