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26th Jul 2016

The Rally Diaries; From Cork to Mongolia in a ’96 Fiesta

Rosanna Cooney

Warning; you are probably are about to feel some twangs of jealousy…

But let us quickly make peace with the sly tentacles of adventure envy and move on to why, for the next six weeks, we are all going to be living vicariously through three lads from Cork and their granny’s Fiesta.


Kieran Covery, Stephen Maybury and Mike Lacey have come together to make the ‘Aristokhans’.

Yes it’s a dubious pun on the most feared conquerer of all time; yes it would be questionable at a pub quiz; yes they absolutely have our full attention as they rally off into the rising sun wearing extraordinarily impractical tuxedos.

The guys are about to drive from Ireland to Mongolia, crossing two thirds of the world’s landmass and taking in three deserts, five mountain ranges, 20 countries and inevitably spending many a dusty mile wishing they’d chosen a car with cup holders.

The Aristokhans are not only embarking on this foolhardy display of adventuring for fun but they’re also doing it for a worthwhile cause; Movember being their chosen charity, €2500 their goal, this being their fundraising page.

We’re not holding out for the tell-all interview Ryan Tubridy will surely snatch, so the lads have reached deep into their hearts, put a thesaurus in their boot and agreed to keep us updated every week.


Diary entry number one

We are The Aristokhans, bringing noble Irish aristocracy to the desolate plains of Mongolia for cancer research.

We are setting forth to spread our word and we are doing the entire leisurely 16000km journey dressed to the nines and yes that includes our steed, a luxurious 96′ ford fiesta banger.

Our tophat/roofrack is loaded, we are wearing our finest, keenly enjoying a classic cassette collection and ready to embrace the soothing vibrations of the Mongolian infrastructure.

Mongolian BBQ

But how did we get to the starting line of such madness?

Last September we found ourselves enthralled by the wild ramblings of a Mongol Rally veteran, leaving us full of adrenalin and with an insatiable thirst to undertake such an adventure.

A week later we were signed up, no going back, blissfully unaware of the magnitude of the journey we were going to undertake.

When the dust settled and we began to get our heads around the idea of traveling across 2/3s of the world’s landmass, we realised from people’s reactions that we could do some serious good along the way.

Looking to support the Irish Cancer Society and Movember, we began the task of raising funds for charity whilst funding our eccentric expedition entirely ourselves.

As with all great adventures, preparation is key. It was a diverse time; tackling the tedious task of visa applications for crossing the globe, going to Penneys to grab some new underwear and watching TV shows like Marco Polo and Long Way Round to teach us how to navigate.

The necessity of organising entertainment for the road weighed heavily on our minds and it was a testing moment when we realised we would only have a cassette player to provide the tunes and so began the search for decent tapes to listen to.

Other major issues included; only having one driver licensed for two thirds of the journey, team members watching Long Way Down instead of Long Way Round and the squishing struggle of fitting all our glad rags into our tiny vehicle.


Next came the planning of our route; we decided the to take the long way.

Conquering the luscious asphalt roads of Europe and Turkey, splicing the Middle East in half, driving through Iran before taking a casual stroll through most of the Stans, whereupon we will enter Russia before victoriously crossing the mass of land that lends its name to the rally – Mongolia!

We will be driving completely unsupported, with a car farcically unfit for the journey but certainly dressed for the occasion.

We are ready now to take the world in our stride, stopping off of course to admire the sites along the way.

Tally Ho for now!

There are two more Irish teams racing to Mongolia, the confusingly named, Straight Sideways from Kilkenny and MadMacs from Kilkenny. Straight Sideways are raising money for Aoibheann’s Pink Tie foundation, this is the link to their fundraising page. And if you feel like checking up on the lads’ progress, they’ve got a nifty tracker.

Good luck to them all, we’re very nervous terribly excited for their next update.


LISTEN: You Must Be Jokin’ with Aideen McQueen – Faith healers, Coolock craic and Gigging as Gaeilge