Cork man James (Jerry) Barry is going to extraordinary lengths to raise funds for the Baltimore RNLI lifeboat this weekend (Saturday 24 July 2010) when he takes part in the most unusual car rally in the world.
James along with his friend Mark Smeaton from Newcastle have won a place on the world famous Mongol Rally. This unique event sees the participants drive a vehicle powered only by 1000 cc, with no modifications, satellite navigation or any support team, from London to Mongolia. Success is measured by simply finishing and speed is not a factor.
James and Mark have named their team the Flaming Hedgehogs and they hope to raise funds for the charity that saves lives at sea over the next few months. Jerry has chosen Baltimore RNLI in county Cork and Mark has picked Sunderland RNLI in the UK, all entrants have to raise a minimum of £1,000 for charity before they can take part.
The pair met at sea when they both worked on tankers together. James is now a third engineer and Mark is a third mate. They have wanted to take part in the rally for a few years but have never been successful in the lottery system required to secure a place until now. Entry is limited and the competition is fierce. Teams from all over Europe, North America, South America, Australia and New Zealand have taken part in this rally and the last ten months have been spent organising visas and their transport.They will set off from London this weekend in a one-litre Toyota Yaris.
James spoke about the reason they selected the RNLI, “ The charity that seemed most fitting to the pair of us is the RNLI as we both work in the shipping industry. When you work at sea you quickly realise how big and vast the oceans are and how mother nature can never be tamed. Knowing there are people out there willing to put their own lives in danger to save others makes going to sea easier.”
The teams are setting off this weekend during the festival of slow from Milan, Barcelona and the Goodwood Motor Circuit in West Sussex and depending on the route the teams take they can travel anything between 8,000 to 10,000 miles. The two have set up a Facebook page to chronicle their travels and James is bringing his beloved Cork flag with him on the journey.