Wartburger Kings Mongol Rally 2017 "Motoring stupidity on global scale"

  • 2 REGULAR GUYS
  • 1 OLD COMMUNIST CAR
  • 20,000 KILOMETERS
  • 19 COUNTRIES
  • $3,000 FOR CHARITY

South Kent School Alumnus Branislav "Bronco" Adam '10, from Zvolen, Slovakia, is about to take a huge step on his Hero's Journey. Branislav, along with his university classmate Lubo Durisin, will be taking part in a crazy adventure called the Mongol Rally. We had many questions about this amazing trip that Bronco is about to embark on.

What is the Mongol Rally?

The rally started in 2004 and the past few years there have been 300 teams in it from all over the world.

There are 3 main rules in order to participate:

  1. You must have a car with an engine smaller than 1 liter.
  2. You are on your own (start and finish is given, nothing else, no support).
  3. Each team needs to raise $1000 for charity.

The Launch Day is on July 16th at the Goodwood Racing Circuit in UK. There are 2 European checkpoints, but they are not mandatory. Our round trip distance is estimated to be 20,000 kilometers. The route will take us across 11 European countries and then on to Asia: Turkey, Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Russia, Mongolia, back to Russia - all the way from Baikal Lake to Moscow - and down towards Ukraine and back home to Slovakia. The finish line is in Ulan-Ude by Baikal Lake, due to lower costs of transporting broken or abandoned vehicles back to EU, than it would be from Mongolia.

The route is up to each individual team, since there is no support, and that is the true adventure. We are estimating our round trip to last 8 weeks, with some buffer days already accounted for. We are hoping to reach the finish line in 6 weeks and then we are planning to drive through Russia during the last two weeks of our trip.

The punchline of this event is "Motoring stupidity on a global scale."

How did you hear about it and what made you want to participate?

My university classmate told me about this event, because he works in England and this adventure originated in the UK. I looked it up on YouTube to see videos from previous years, and I got hooked. I had the opportunity to experience the Western world spending three and a half years in USA and a year in Canada, so I know about those cultures already. This other parts of the world are something that I would like to see and experience.

Your team has an interesting name, what can you tell me about that?

It all started with the car name which is Wartburg, a brand from Eastern Germany also known as DDR. The full name of the vehicle is Wartburg 353 Tourist. It was also sold in the Western world under the name of Wartburg Knight. So, we came up with the silly idea saying, “let’s be the Kings since he is the Knight.” Then it kind of naturally evolved into Wartburger Kings. Both of us lived in the US for while so it sounded catchy to us. We were trying to be clever and funny with the name. There is no other reason behind it.

What has it taken to prepare for this?

Preparation has been a lot more that you might think. I am perfectionist and I am into cars, therefore we are trying to prepare the car to the best of our knowledge and perfect our skills to ensure it will more than make it. We will make it in style!

The other part is planning the itinerary, and aligning our visas with it. Like with everything, it comes down to money, therefore we are looking for sponsors that would like to support us with goods, services or financially. We are also raising money for two charities, which also takes some effort. We want provide a valuable return to our sponsors and that is reason why we are making our social networks look professional. The team’s two charities are Cool Earth and Hodina Detom. Cool Earth is a charity that works alongside indigenous villages to halt rainforest destruction. By building better incomes, better schools and better clinics, Cool Earth gives their partner villages the resources they need to keep their forest intact.

The team is also looking to raise over €1,000 for a Slovak children's charity, Hodina Detom (Children's Hour), which is a year-round collection to support projects that help children and young people in Slovakia. Each year they connect those in need with those who can and want to give.

The Engine
What preparations do you have left to do?

In my opinion, the vehicle will be in preparation mode until the very end, in order to make it perfect.

We are still behind with our fundraising activities and also our sponsorship is not what we hoped it will be at this stage.

The whole visa process is starting in April and is sure to be a bureaucratic nightmare, but we already have some help promised.

Do you carry all of your food and water with you?

We are only going to carry some food and water. Experiencing the local culture and enjoying food and drinks is all part of the adventure.

Christmas gifts from family members of the team.
Where do you get fuel?

Wherever we can! Hahaha It might be even at the black market if it comes to that.

What do you do if your car breaks down?

We will wait a few minutes, if the problem does not fix itself, then we are going to get down and dirty in order to get going.

I have decent knowledge about the technical aspect of cars, but this is specific in many ways. That is the reason why I always befriend a few knowledgeable people wherever I go for lessons with hands on experience or just discussing various things online.

Other than the adventure what do you hope comes from this trip?

I hope to shape my own picture about these countries and people. I believe that many people are blinded by stereotypes that are out there about these countries. I would like to learn what these people are really like, and to share that via social media during the trip and on my return.

Is there anything people can do to help you if they would like?

Yes, there is plenty that people can do to help us!

People can donate money to our charitable cause via JustGiving.com. All of the money collected at JustGiving.com will go to the two charities that we support:

CoolEarth – Focuses on environmental issues.

Children of Slovakia Foundation - Improves the lives of kids and youth in Slovakia.

Our website also provides more information about these charities.

You can help us complete the race with your financial support via our PayPal.

Gifts of relevant goods or services are also always very welcome. Every form of help is greatly appreciated. Our hope is that every donor will receive something in return as thanks.

This all sounds amazing, how can we follow along to see the photos and video of your progress?

We are on:

We are already documenting our preparation process on these sites. Once we get on the road we will do our best to keep our fans posted but, keep in mind the limitation of internet in middle of nowhere.

What brought you to SKS?

The main reason why I came to SKS was to play hockey. It was my dream to play in USA. When the opportunity presented itself I had to go, even though I was 16 years old and had never flown in big airplane, I took my hockey bag, language and left Slovakia, expecting to leave home for 9 months. Realizing how great the Hillside is, I decided to stay for two more years.

What are your memories of the Hillside that helped get you on the path you are taking today?

The biggest thing I learn on Hillside is to have courage. I think it turned me into extrovert. I learned that I have to stand up and speak up if I want learn something and get somewhere in life.

After graduating from SKS what was your university experience like and what are you doing these days?

I went to City University of Seattle with campuses in EU, where I finished my bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. After graduating in 2014, I went to Canada to work in the northern Alberta wilderness, where I had a hard job where I earned enough money to pay for my MBA tuition when I got back to Europe. I also work fulltime for Hewlett Packard Enterprise as part of the Management of Change team. I am expecting to finish my MBA studies one month before the rally starts. No pressure there.

We are very excited that Bronco has the opportunity to participate in this race and can't wait to follow along with him on social media.

Visit the Wartburger Kings facebook page and "Like" it to follow along with us.

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South Kent School
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