BY TOBY PORTER
Monique is a tough teenager preparing for a long trip to Mongolia for charity.
It would be a great idea for a gap year, if the 18-year-old were a girl who had just finished her A-levels.
But Monique is a Nissan Micra, who is helping her owners raise thousands for three charities, including the Brixton Soup Kitchen, with the help of some technical expertise from Euro Car Parts in Lyham Road, Brixton.
Garage owner Tom Page bought her for a bargain £500, even though she has only done 45,000 miles. But now she, Tom and co-driver Sam Mellor must go another 11,000 miles in a month, as part of the Mongol Rally.
Euro Car Parts helped prepare the tough but sparkly Micra for the epic month-long journey across Europe and the Asian steppe.
Euro Car Parts is sponsoring ‘Team Togrog’ for the rally, which starts on July 22 near Prague in the Czech Republic. Monique and her drivers face harsh conditions, language barriers and challenging roads on the journey to Ulan Ude, Russia.
Euro Car Parts has supplied driveshafts, springs, a roof rack and engine sump guard, to enable the budget Micra to be in the best condition for the event.
Tom said: “With the rally run for charity, any money spent on spares is money that isn’t being donated.
Euro Car Parts has kindly supplied us with parts, meaning the funds we raise go directly to our chosen causes.
“I’ve been thinking about doing the Mongol Rally for a while. It’s a great opportunity for an adventure, heading off into some very remote parts of the world.
“I’m sure it will be tough – especially for me as the team mechanic. The charity aspect is also a wonderful reason to get involved.
We’re supporting three fabulous charities – Cool Earth, Brixton Soup Kitchen and a children’s charity in Cambodia, Tiny Toones.
It’s a privilege to be representing all of them.” Sam said: “Our rough plan is to head through Southern Europe and jump on the ferry across the Caspian Sea to Turkmenistan.
Then we’re aiming to take the Pamir Highway up towards Mongolia and then finally nip over the Russian border to the finish line. Twentyish countries… Easy.
“Cool Earth are fighting the good fight against climate change as the official charity partner of the rally.
They’ll be getting £500 to help us feel slightly less guilty about driving a third of the way round the world.
“Tiny Toones is a Cambodian non-government organisation where I spent six months volunteering. They do amazing work with children who are living or working on the streets of the capital Phnom Penh, getting them back into education.
“Brixton Soup Kitchen provide food, legal advice and support for people facing homelessness and other difficulties in our area.”
Rally rules dictate a one-litre car must be bought for less than £1,000.
Preparation is crucial, with a limited budget for the car, repairs and spares.”
Page concluded: “We are extremely grateful to Euro Car Parts and the team at the Brixton store, which I’ve used for more than six years. It’s a great company.”
Helen Robinson, marketing director for Euro Car Parts, said: “The Mongol Rally is a fun initiative with a serious side, raising significant funds for very worthwhile causes.
We’re pleased to be playing a small part in the team’s efforts and wish them, and Monique, well.”