Published: 06:00, 22 August 2019
A pair of pensioners have crashed out of the Mongol Rally after hitting a barrier in the middle of the night.
Adventurers Chris Gouldstone, 68, and Jonathan Harmer, 70, from Egerton near Ashford, wrecked their VW Polo while driving through the night in Turkmenistan.
The rally sees teams take beat-up old cars from a start point in Junk City near Prague to the finish line at Ulan-Ude in East Siberia, Russia, with no set route in between.
Dodging potholes and passing camels and with Chris at the wheel, the Polo, nicknamed Binky, struck a barrier and a lump of concrete, veering off the road in Turkmenistan.
Their mascot Faustus, a rocking horse modelled into a unicorn and supplied by the Stevenson Brothers of Bethersden, survived the impact.
But disaster struck again when the car later toppled off the low-loader that had been sent to recover it and overturned into a field, leaving Faustus the unicorn broken.
Spokesman Chris Hollands confirmed that both men had emerged from the ordeal unscathed.
He said: “The good news is that both Jonathan and Chris are safe and well and living a life of luxury on $10 a day in Nukus, Uzbekistan.”
Chris and Jonathan set out on their adventure to raise money for Rare Dementia Support as Mr Harmer’s ex-wife died from the condition in 2017.
Marc Stevenson, of Stevenson Brothers, said the rocking-horse ‘unicorn’ had been donated to a local farmer and that he hoped to send the parts out to enable it to be fixed.
In the meantime, the Egerton adventurers will continue their travels by rail to Moscow.
The VW is being shipped back to England, as required by the contest rules.
Marc said: “People were always taking pictures of Binky because of the unicorn on top.
“It must have been one of the most photographed cars in the whole rally.”
“I think Chris and Jonathan are extraordinary. They are proof that age is no barrier to adventure.”
Donations are welcome for Rare Dementia Support and to contribute, click here