Wil and the Mongol Rally

Mongol Rally

Teams of four drive from London to Mongolia to raise money for charity

If you thought racing against hundreds of adventurous types across two continents in a beat up service vehicle was a bit wild, you’d be right. It’s not for the faint-hearted. But Wil d’Avigdor, who is in Professor Geoff McCaughan’s Liver Immunology group supervised by Dr Nicholas Shackel, will be doing just that with three mates in July next year to raise money for the Centenary Institute.

He’s participating in the Mongol Rally, an annual event run by The Adventurists, where 300 teams race each other from London or Prague to Mongolia in a car unintended for that kind of journey.

The Mongol Rally has three rules. First, each team must raise £1,000 for charity. Second, the vehicle that takes them from Hyde Park in London to Ulaanbaatar in Mongolia must have an engine displacement of less than 1200cc. Finally, no support teams are allowed.

Given that Wil’s team lacks mechanical prowess, they’re hoping for a slightly more reliable, faster service vehicle. Wil has only had his full licence for a year and hasn’t quite mastered driving a manual but says he’ll “learn fast”.

Following a launch party in Prague, the journey will take them through Turkey and the ‘Stans’ in around six weeks and, depending on their route, crosses about 15 countries over a range of unforgiving terrains.

The trip will be a nice break after handing in his PhD which is due at the end of March. Wil is studying the overall gene expression and different mechanisms of hepatitis C in the liver. He is trying to understand why some patients respond to treatment and some don’t.

Wil’s fundraising page will be online soon.