To the Beach
in Siberia

Tony Mole has never done anything this crazy in his 25 years at Vauxhall. Today, he is due to set off – with his employer’s blessing. Mole, a mechanic at the Luton site, is on his way to Magadan, a Russian port city situated between two bays on the Sea of Okhotsk. Look it up and you’ll find it lies in East Siberia. That’s right! Mole is en route to the shores of the Pacific as his technical expertise is required for the journey. He’s part of a team of adventurers traveling through 21 countries, traversing the breadth of Europe and all of Asia in three new Vivaro vans.

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After the keys to the Vivaro were handed over in Luton: A group of Vauxhall employees and the Siberia Challenge team have time to mark the occasion with a quick photo shortly before they set off.

Their route will take them to the headquarters of Opel, Vauxhall’s German sister company, in Rüsselsheim, Germany, past Count Dracula’s castle in Romania, up the coast of the Caspian Sea in Azerbaijan, and across the Mongolian steppe. By the end, the travelers will have clocked up some 19,500 kilometers. The expedition has been christened the ‘Siberia Challenge.’ Vauxhall is supporting the project because it serves a good cause that merits attention. The cross-country journey is a charity event for ‘Help for Heroes,’ an organization that supports British soldiers who served in Afghanistan and Iraq.

 

The veterans 

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Lance Corporal Ian Wright (ret.); Sergeant Kes Bradley (ret.); Lance Bombardier Stefan Godfree (ret.) (left to right).

 

other Team members 

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Mac Mackenney, team leader; Rich Wain-Hobson, doctor and photographer; Paul Marsh, mechanic; Tony Mole, Vauxhall mechanic (left to right).

Before the three ‘Siberia Challenge’ war veterans and the other members set off, they had to complete a preparatory course lasting several weeks. They received training in first aid, survival strategies in the wild, and communications. Afterwards the adventurers picked up their three 1.6-liter Vivaro vans in Luton. They loaded them up on-site, and Vauxhall mechanic Tony Mole carried out one last inspection with his colleagues. From there the team made their way to the starting point, namely Clogherhead bay on Ireland’s Dingle Peninsula, the westernmost point in Europe. A website has been specially set up for the project to document the adventure, a journey which is scheduled to be completed at the end of August. Here you can also find biographies of the team members, as well as photos and accounts of the various stops along the route.

THE EXPEDITION IN NUMBERS

19.500 kilometers (total distance covered)
60 days
3 war veterans
2 continents
21 countries
12 capital cities
3 Vivaro vans
£10,000 raised for charity