The Highway to Mongolia
In October 2016, the team headed by TLD regular Jan Kalmar with two new South African team members Bob and Craig tested their abilities and endurance on Eurasian roads. Bob and Craig are both new to extreme endurance-driving like this but are very skillful drivers who want to see if they are ready for the Panamericana trip in 2017.
Starting in Istanbul, the team was about to drive the “Zebra” Cayenne through Georgia, Russia, and Kazakhstan to reach the beautiful capital of Mongolia – Ulaanbaatar.
Unfortunately, bureaucracy can ruin everything. After 4 days, 12 hours and 16min The Highway to Mongolia was stopped by bureaucracy and unwillingness to do the right thing as the Russian embassy in South African put a wrong number in the visas. “NO” was the only answer. The amazing challenge ended in the “no-man-land” between Kazakhstan and Russia. The Longest Drive Team members got “arrested”, were forced to spend the night in the car at the border. Next day Jan took an 800 km taxi ride to Novosibirsk to fly home, Bob and Craig took the Zebra to Almaty and flew home from there. The stress has not ended there as the Zebra is still stuck in Almaty due to customs issues. THIS WAS NOT THE PLAN!
The Longest Drive team for The Highway to Mongolia
Bob Neil – the Englishman living in South Africa. Running his own mining and waterline company, Bob had a chance to be in places that most of the people never even dreamt of. He is a car enthusiast and adventure “Passionist” eager to challenge his abilities on both Asian and American roads.
Craig Wearing – thoroughbred south-African. He runs a company selling and delivering spare parts and trucks to the deepest jungle one may imagine. He knows no fear but is well aware of the dangers waiting around every corner in this part of the world. Both Bob and Craig is using the “Highway to Mongolia” as preparation for Panamericana.
Jan Kalmar – the founder and of the Longest Drive. Pulling all the strings but only successful thanks to a devoted back office team which supports the project nonstop. Tons of experience and a fair amount of insanity: that’s Jan.
The Longest Drive Porsche Cayenne for The Highway to Mongolia
The “Zebra” was prepared after the North-to-South 2.0 World record drive, and had almost the same configuration as during TLD 2.0. However, the biggest difference is the tires. The team tested a new type which should be strong enough for the gravel roads, but also able to withstand the heat on Turkish motorways, and at the same time still work on the cold Caucasus mountain-roads. This was all in preparation for the Panamericana trip, where they will drive from “warm” summer in the north to cold winter in the south. The refrigerator will also come in handy as refreshments are not easy to find in this part of the world.
As previously, The Longest Drive was greatly supported by partners and friends from visited countries: Porsche Georgia, Porsche Center Almaty, Porsche Club Classic Russland and of course Porsche Mongolia. The team didn’t manage however to reach Mongolia, but anyways the support provided by the team from Ulaanbaatar was very helpful.
Here is also a place for a special thanks to Linar from Porsche Centre Almaty who was our lifeline. Without him for sure we would have spent a night in the Kazakhstan border jail house. Thanks to Linar the Silverbacks received a warm welcome in Almaty and great farewell home. Beside Linar is taking special care of TLD “Zebra” Cayenne.