- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 17, 2005

‘Mongol Rally’ ready to roll again in July

The promotional material calls it “the greatest adventure in the world.” Inaugurated last year, it’s more formally known as the “Mongol Rally.”

The challenge of the rally is to travel a quarter of the way around the world, from London to Mongolia, in any junker of a car that has a maximum 1-liter engine. This year’s rally begins July 30.

The race covers 8,000 miles. It ends in the Mongolian capital Ulaan Bataar about three weeks later.

The route is divided into three legs that vary in length, with an optional layover for rest at the completion of each one.

The rally has few rules, which is it’s most appealing feature to those who accept the challenge. Each car can have only two occupants.

For good progress, the drivers must spell each other sleeping while staying on the move. There are hotels along the way, but teams who stop can fall hopelessly behind.

Of course, one objective of this race can be just to finish it. Off-road driving takes on a whole new meaning.

Self-reliance is the watchword of the Mongol Rally. There are no backup teams to pick up those who break down. And the organizers specifically do not guarantee anyone’s arrival in Mongolia.

Indeed, the Web site for the event wryly declares: “Traveling light is the order of the day. You want to be as unladen as possible, so if you have to swap your broken car for a bycycle in the middle of the desert, you can carry on without much difficulty.”

The rally is a charity event, with each team obliged to raise $1,900 to be donated to somehow appropriately named Send a Cow, an organization based in Bath, England.

Rally sponsors say the group works against poverty in Africa by supplying poor rural communities with livestock, training and advice on self-reliance.

Mongol Rally itself is described as a nonprofit organization run by volunteers.

For additional information, visit www.mongolrally.com on the Internet. The rally motto is: “What will you do this summer?”

35th Sugarloaf meet slated March 25-26

The 35th annual “Antique Auto Parts Meet and Auction,” hosted by the Sugarloaf Mountain Region, AACA, is scheduled for March 25-26 at the fairgrounds in Frederick, Md.

The indoor-outdoor event attracted almost 250 vendors last year.

Doors open this year at 6 a.m. both days and the auction starts at noon on the second day. Food will be available, including breakfast, lunch, soups and desserts.

For more information about registration, directions and fees, contact Robert Clubb at 301/831-0300, or 301/428-0084. You can also send e-mail to [email protected] or visit the Web site at smrantiqueautoclub.com.

For more information, call 718/746-5300, ext. 242.

BMW brings 3 Series to Washington in April

BMW will give Washington and area residents a sneak peek at the new 3 Series on April 1 at the National Geographic building at 1145 17th St. NW.

The event, from noon to 2 p.m., is part of the carmaker’s “3 Across America” tour. For 44 days, the BMW 3 Series and a convoy of heritage BMWs will visit 20 cities coast to coast.

On April 1, the caravan will stop in Washington with five new vehicles (three 330i and two 325i) as well as five heritage ones (2002Tii, 320i, 325i, 325is and M3) — earlier models from which the new 3 Series has evolved.

For more information about the event, which is free, go to www.3acrossamerica.com on the Internet.

Fax or mail items of interest to Bill O’Brien, Auto Notes, The Washington Times, 3600 New York Ave. NE, Washington, D.C. 20002. Use fax 202/832-2167. The deadline is 5 p.m. on the Monday before publication on Friday.

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