Book Review: Mongol Rally – Three Weeks into the Unknown


By Dave S. Clark

Completing the Mongol Rally is a monumental task and because of the book Mongol Rally – Three Weeks into the Unknown, it’s now an experience that is written in permanent marker on my bucket list.

Anyone who participates in the event has to be slightly insane for a number of reasons. First off, it starts in London and ends in Ulan Bator, Mongolia, which can be anywhere from 13,000 KM to 16,000 KM. Needless to say, it would be a taxing drive. But as the book illustrates, it isn’t solely the distance, the brutal terrain and the terrible or non-existent roads that make it tough. It’s the countless border crossings and police checkpoints that make the race a challenge.

On top of that, it’s basically the Chump Car of long distance rally races, meaning you’re required to do it in a crap can of a vehicle. When the rally is over, you’re required to turn the vehicle over and have it auctioned for charity, so you don’t want to invest in it too heavily. 

JA Irving drove the race with his buddy, covering 9,500 miles in the process, and self published this book upon his return. Although it could have used a bit of editing and would benefit from being more concise at times, it was a captivating read. I finished it cover-to-cover in a matter of days as I had to know if the pair would make it through to the next country, if their little Suzuki would hold up to the abuse or if they’d be taken to prison in Russia. The book does a great job of describing what it takes to complete a trip like this and shows how brave these guys were when dealing with border patrols and law enforcement in some pretty interesting countries!

If you have an adventurous spirit, like these two guys obviously do, pick up Mongol Rally – Three Weeks into the Unknown and give it a read. But be warned, you’ll probably want to buy a beat up 4×4 and make a crazy intercontinental journey!

I’d give it 4/5 stars.

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