‘Idiot and a borrowed bike’ complete Mongol Rally Challenge

Joe with local bikers near the city of Ganja, Azerbaijan.
Joe with local bikers near the city of Ganja, Azerbaijan.

A student from Warnham has completed a bike rally of more than 14,000 miles taking in the sights of Europe, Russia and Asia.

Joe Harrod has completed the Mongol Rally Challenge under the name ‘An Idiot and a Borrowed Bike’. He got home on Friday after crossing 20 countries in six weeks on a 125cc bike.

A main road through Kazakhstan. Photo contributed.

A main road through Kazakhstan. Photo contributed.

And it almost went without a hitch. A breakdown a few miles after getting onto mainland Europe put him 1,600 miles behind the group and it was almost over when he was in the last stretch through Kent.

He said: “It was the second day in Belgium and my bike blew up. There was no solution and I had to have another one shipped to me overnight.

“I did 1,600 miles in three days to catch everyone up.

“Then in the final day I came off the ferry onto the M20 out of Dover and my engine pressurised and blew the dipstick out. Oil was spilling out for a couple of miles. There was no option but to put the bike on the lorry. I got a new on in Hove.”

Joe before the rally. Photo contributed. PgqeTckoiEOShv6toxBK

Joe before the rally. Photo contributed. PgqeTckoiEOShv6toxBK

In the trip from Goodwood to Ulan Ude in Russia and back, he has been through mountain ranges, deserts, cityscapes and countryside.

Mechanical engineering student Joe said: “Mongolia was complete madness - a collision between East and West. There’s every type of terrain in 100 miles - snow capped maintains, desert, plains.

“In Russian the hospitality of the people in the Ural mountains was amazing. I was treated like some kind of VIP. That was awesome.

“I had a flat tyre in Omsk and I was pushing the bike into the town and a bus driver helped me.

“In the middle of rush hour he stopped, got the disabled ramp down and took me down to the garage. He didn’t speak a word of English. They are really awesome people.”

He was doing it to raise money for rainforest conservation charity Cool Earth, and for ABF The Soldiers’ Charity, which supports soldiers and veterans. He is already planning his next adventure.

He said: “I’m an army reserve in Exeter. We have always raised money for them and know what they do.

“They are a great charity and it’s nice to see what the money is pent on.

“I’m planning my next trip. I’ve got a couple of ideas for next summer.”

His sponsorship page will be open until the end of September. To support him go to http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/JoeHarrod