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Final thoughts

The main objective of the Siberia Challenge was to raise funds for Help For Heroes, the UK military charity. But each member of the team also experienced their own individual journey. Here they share their memories and reflections on the adventure.

Ian

Former Lance Corporal

 

It’s something I’ll never forget and without a doubt it’s made me a better person. I never thought we’d complete a trip of this scale, but I came out the other side with some amazing friends I will stay in touch with forever. It has been hard mentally and emotionally, but I’ve learned a lot about myself. I’m just glad my wife still loves the new and improved me!

 

A comment from Ian’s wife, Jayne
Jayne contacted Mac once he was back in the UK to let him know how much the experience had meant to Ian and his family. Jayne commented: “Thank you so very much for all you and your fantastic team have done for Ian. I can assure you that he is a changed man.”

Kes

Former Sergeant

 

Beautiful scenery. Panoramic vistas. Vodka. Local beer. Local food. Local people. Mechanics college. Five Mongolian tracks leading to one destination. Darvaza crater. Yurt (Ger) camp. Camels. Ian making me cry with laughter. Ian smiling. The Doctor cooking. Numbering off. Van 3 taking their time. Cow in the road. Goat in the road. The list goes on. I loved this trip for so many reasons.

Mac

Team leader

 

I am incredibly proud of the team for what they have achieved and the vans for the abuse they have endured. But most of all, I am proud of Vauxhall, who had such belief in their new Vivaro van that they were willing to subject it to an extreme test that was well above its original design criteria. I don't know of any other vehicle manufacturer who would subject their products to such exhaustive testing whilst under the close scrutiny of both the press and public.

 

It's only now whilst I write this that the true emotions of our epic adventure have come to the fore. I'll never forget the past 2 months and the amazing journey that we have undertaken together.

Paul

Expedition mechanic

 

My experience spans 30 years of preparing overland vehicles for global travel. So when selected by Mac, I knew it would be a tough event.

 

Damage to the Vivaros from poor-quality fuel would be likely; the high-tech electronics would be subject to dust and vibration; and low-lying components would be submerged when crossing rivers. Plus, our payload was taken to the maximum.

 

In practice, we had no problems with the poor-quality fuel used, no hesitation from the engines or drive train and no component failure.

 

Apart from the underbody protection plates fitted (part of the off-road pack to be offered by Vauxhall), these vans were stock-standard off the production line – and they endured one of the toughest overland tests you could submit a two-wheel vehicle to.