Wednesday, June 19, 2019

AS THE generosity of the Irish has regularly attested to, there are more ways to earn money for a charity than one can poke a proverbial stick at.

I have seen white collar boxing, teacher-dunking, running a marathon dressed as a piece of architecture, and rude bingo. Don’t ask.

Indeed, many of our readers may even have seen that an advertisement for a certain Irish tea company where a pair of lads cycle from Cairo to Cape Town.

However all that is in the ha’penny place compared to the little charity drive three lads from Newbridge are undertaking this summer.

They hope to drive half way round the world, through 18 countries, in a 17-year old Micra called ‘Audrey’.

Which they got for €400, and has just failed its NCT.

Pat Kavanagh (23), John Finn (23) and Cian Rea (22) are the intrepid threesome setting off on the adventure of a lifetime on the Mongol Rally in aid of the Irish Cancer Society before climbing onto the hamster wheel later this year.

“John sorta came across it on YouTube two or three years ago, and put the idea in our heads and we said we’d go for it,” said Pat.

“This charity is close to our hearts with cancer affecting us all, both directly and indirectly and for this reason we want to do everything in our power to support this cause.

“The two lads have just finished [Engineering in UCD] and I can take the time off [as an architectural technologist]. It’s good timing,” he said.

The plan is to drive Audrey – after she gets re-NCT’ed of course – through France and Germany to the start in Prague on 22 July where they will join up with 250 teams on the 12,000Km route through (deep breath) the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgstan, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Mongolia.

Pat Kavanagh (23), John Finn (23) and Cian Rea (22) with ‘Audrey’, getting ready for the trip of a lifetime

Barring hiccup, disaster, or war, the three former Newbridge College pupils hope to make it to the finish in Ulan Ude in Mongolia eight weeks later.

Each entrant must make it on their own, as there are no support crews.

“Yeah, they kinda leave it up to ourselves. If you get lost you find your own way. They give us a GPS tracker and that’s it,” said Pat.

Unsurprisingly, the three men are looking for whatever sponsorship they can raise to allay costs   estimated at between €2,500 and €3,000 each.

That doesn’t include the entry fee, or the €1,200 deposit on Audrey to cover the cost of shipping her back in the event of a break-down.

Rally rules preclude any competitor from dumping their vehicle in Mongolia after arrival, or in any country en route, and all entrants must guarantee the return of their vehicle to the start.

They plan to sleep in a roadside tent or in the car as much as possible for the eight week trip.

We  enquired as to the concerns, but this was a very full glass.

“Mam’s beginning to get a bit worried looking into all the countries – particularly Iran, but Dad’s just getting a little bit jealous,” he laughed.

“It’s the same with the other two lads,” he added.

When this reporter also admitted a tiny pang of jealousy, Pat gleefully admitted: “Everybody says that to us!”

So far they have raised over €1600 out of their €5000 fundraising goal through GoFundMe.

The three explorers will be having a final having a fundraiser in their local Newbridge Rugby Club on the evening of Saturday, 29 June, and all are welcome.

Donations can also be made through their go fune me page at

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By finian coughlan
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