Life is getting a little nerve-wracking for the only Canadian team entered in a 16,000 km rally race across Europe and Asia that starts July 18.
The Mongol Rally, first run in 2004, pits 300 teams of drivers in cars of 1,000 ccs or less in a run from London, England to Ulaan, Mongolia, crossing deserts and mountains and dealing with armed and nervous border guards along the way.
Where to finish is to win, just getting started is creating something of a panic for the Mongol Rovers, a nine-member team including five from Central Alberta.
Earlier this year, members shipped their passports to a company in England that is supposed to arrange their visas.
At last word, only three of the six visas had been processed and the passports have not been returned, member Jared Van Laar of Lacombe said on Wednesday.
Without passports, the team won’t get past Toronto, never mind reach London in time for the start of the race on July 18.
Van Laar and his partners have been attempting to track down their passports so they can be delivered back to them in time for a July 12 departure. Passport troubles come on the heels of a problem with one of the four cars the team will use in its trek.
One of the team members rolled their Chevy Tracker en route home from a site in the United States, where it had been fitted with new paint, decals and lights.
He had lost control on ice after a big truck cut him off, said Van Laar.
The driver managed to get the Tracker back on its wheels and brought it home, repaired and made ready for shipping to England, he said.
The Mongol Rovers are still in the midst of fundraising for the rally, with proceeds to go to Mercy Corps Mongolia, a charity that provides economic and social support to rural communities.
Members of the Mongol Rovers are still tallying the results of a fundraiser held in Edmonton last weekend and have another planned for Blackfalds on Saturday.
The team has been offered access to the Covered Wagon Saloon, starting at 7 p.m. People will be asked to pay an admission fee of $10, which includes free snacks and entry for door prizes.
Updates on the team’s progress are being posted online at www.mongoliarovers.com