Friends set to drive into unknown for epic trip

Richatd PUCHALKA and ANDREZ STASZEK RIGHT who are taking part in the mongol Rally..driving 10,000 mioles to Mongolia in aid of charity
Richatd PUCHALKA and ANDREZ STASZEK RIGHT who are taking part in the mongol Rally..driving 10,000 mioles to Mongolia in aid of charity

TWO Sheffield friends set off next month on a 10,000-mile drive across some of the most remote and challenging terrain on the planet.

Richard Puchalka and Andrzej Staszek, both aged 22, will cross mountains and deserts on their way to Mongolia in a ten-year-old 1.0-litre Nissan Micra they bought for £1,050.

They are accepting the challenge of the Mongol Rally, with no idea of what might happen.

“In reality this is not a rally but an adventure, driving through deserts, mountains and maybe the odd motorway in a vehicle that is in no way suited to the task in hand as rules state that the car cannot have an engine size larger than 1.2 litres,” said Richard.

The car is designed more for “doing the weekly shop” and if it breaks down, which could be hundreds of miles from civilisation, Richard and Andrzej will be expected to fix it themselves.

“This is what the Mongol Rally is about. Getting stuck, lost and in trouble, then finding your way out armed with just your wits.”

The duo went to Notre Dame Secondary School and the Saturday Polish School in Ecclesall Road. They graduated last year – Richard from Sheffield Hallam University, Andrzej from Nottingham – then took a gap year including ski seasons in Austria and France, respectively

“Both of us love challenging situations and love to drive so this rally seemed like the perfect idea alongside the opportunity to raise as much money for a fantastic charity!” said Richard, who lives in Bannerdale Road.

“Our background in car mechanics is at best non-existent and our ability to even change a tyre would come into question!”

They are raising money for the Christina Noble Children’s Foundation in Ulaanbaatar in Mongolia, which helps abandoned or homeless children.

More than 300 teams will set off on the rally from the Goodwood race circuit in Chichester on July 23, aiming to cross Eastern Europe, central Asia and Far East Asia to Ulaanbaatar.

“We have never done anything like this before,” added Richard.

“Driving is one thing but fixing a car is another. But we can’t wait.”

Richard and Andrzej, who lives in Woodholm Road, Banner Cross, are taking advice on car servicing from their fathers, then expect to spend between four and six weeks on their adventure.

They have sponsorship from a small number of Sheffield based companies, and are looking for more, along with donations.

Anybody who wants to help can contact Richard on 07969174441 or rpuchalka@hotmail.co.uk.