History

The Sixth Roof of the World Rally in 2013

2013 was a busy a year, we had a strong contingent of Norwegians with ambulances and a large number of people from the UK, with a smattering of Italians and Americans. Every team made it to the finish, not all with their vehicles.  Adventures were a plenty.  Brothers to Tajikistan, Arne and Vidar really struggled getting their ambulance over the Pamirs, having backtacked to Kyrgyzstan and then being towed over the mountains after a desperate experiment involving hooking up an oxygen cyclinder to the engine didn't quite work. They stayed two nights in no mans land with a family and after eventually making it to Dushanbe offloaded an incredible amount of toys at a local orphanage.  Both the Norwegian ambulances, including Hjalmar's of Team Charity Drive 2013, have been snapped up by loal Tajik hospitals.  Well done to Fabio in his home improved Seat Ibiza to making it to the finish.

The Fifth Roof of the World Rally in 2012

2012 once again saw teams from all over Europe head for the wilds, this time in aid of the fantastic Save the Children charity, who distributed vehicles to local NGO's around Tajikistan. The Opto Optimists were the top fundraisers, supporting Go help but also the Aga Khan Foundation. The team of the year award goes to the mighty Discover East, for undertaking the rally in an ambulance in winter.... Despite the odds being against them, they somehow prevailed and their ambulance was put to good work in Muminobod, very close to Afghanistan. Despite the excellent work being done by Save the Children, this was a transition year for us as we scaled up to run our own charity projects in time for the next event...

The Forth Roof of the World Rally in 2011

The 2011 Rally saw a change from previous years - we launched with the Mongolia Rally from Horse Guards Parade. The rally finished at the charity Sworde-Teppa in Kurghan-Tyube. We've heard it was quite a party at the finish!  We'd also like to say thank you to Tethys for putting up significant sponsorship of the ambulance. Prize winners this year are Jerry for best vehicle, Team Djurovski for best fundraising / best organised and Team Rustin Seamrot for doing ridiculously well in nursing an old Rover Maestro over the Pamirs and arriving with it in good condition, and if they manage to dig out their photo of a policeman posing with our bag of tea - then they will win the prize for best photo too...ade in an absolutely huge event that blew everybody's socks off. We had a slightly less multinational mix this year, but the continent was represented by Team Djurovski from the Netherlands.  The highlight of the year has been the handover arranged by Sworde-Teppa of Jerry's (Team TeaAmbulance) Ambulance to the Central Hospital 

The Third Roof of the World Rally in 2010

The 2010 edition of the Roof of the World Rally somehow managed to raise the bar even higher in almost every respect. Representatives of the UK, Ireland, Russia, Switzerland and America distributed tea far and wide across the land, and had some incredible adventures along the way. The 2010 Rally legend is without doubt Mr. Rickard Roycroft, who drove an ambulance all on his lonesome right down into Syria and through Iran, donating tea to everyone he met. Honourable mentions must also go to Team Charity Road Trips for setting the fund-raising and sponsorship bar and to Pillars of the West for becoming the first team to complete the round trip right back to London. Finally, rally returnee and 2009 legend Joe Taylor set a new record with his team Tajikivan for the shortest number or miles covered before terminal failure, as their van stopped somewhere around Kent. Despite this minor setback, Tajikivan and fellow Team Dodge (14 breakdowns on the way to Budapest) displayed true rally spirit by completing the journey using a combination of trains and hitching!

 

The Second Roof of the World Rally in 2009

The second Roof of the World Rally launched from Greenwich Park in 2009 with much tea and a smattering of dignatories. Teams did us proud, as nationals from Italy, Germany, America, France and the UK spread tea far and wide and had some incredible adventures.  The Italian team came with film crew and minibus and managed to get stuck in nomans land overnight without the right permits, the German team crossed deserts and mountains in a 900cc van complete with power shower and Team ToMaTomAn set the bar for distance travelled, covering nearly 8000miles in five weeks. 

However, a special mention must go to the new rally legends Kernow Krew. The joint UK/US team managed to pay for their hospital bills with tea (after nearly dying of altitude sickness), got stuck in a river overnight (where they slept with water flowing though the car) before being towed out using pieces of Chinese border fence. They also reversed over a 4700 meter pass and through the Kazakh desert after their car broke down. After refusing several opportunities to get married and passing out tea to everyone they met they rolled into Kurgan-Tybe ahead of everyone else! 

 

The First Roof of the World Rally in 2008

The Roof of the World Rally 2008 consisted of a small bunch of adventurous folk – representing Italy, Australia and Great Britain. The teams had a cup of tea and some sandwiches at Greenwich Park Tea House, jumped in their cars and endeavored to get to Sworde-Teppa in Tajikistan, whilst at the same time sharing a cuppa with people they met on the way. As part of that aim, all teams set off with a huge number of tea bags. Of the 3 teams taking part, only 2 made it to the finish line. The Australian Team didn't quite make it, but did manage to get invited to a Kazakh wedding and donated their tea bags to the celebrations.
Tales from the road include numerous breakdowns, a wheel falling off a cliff, mafia encounters, tea parties, embassy gatherings, Afghanistan, truly awful roads, hitch-hiking border guards, lots of getting lost and a giant mouse costume…. All in all, Roof of the World Rally 2008 offered the chance for teams to try and make the time to communicate and be hospitable with people across the world. To offer a bit of hospitality back whilst passing through some of the most hospitable nations. It is enough to say that the idea worked, awesomely.
Sworde-Teppa, the charity we support in Tajikistan, ended up with two working vehicles. Both these cars had local offers far in excess for what they were bought in UK/Italy for. One car was used as a staff vehicle for a year before being sold to raise funds, the other car was sold to raise money for sworde-teppa projects and  helped fund the new computer learning classroom and the roof of the next door Kindergarten.

 

Before ROTW

The Roof of the World rally evolved from two ambitious entries into the Mongolian Rally in 2007. Ryan Walker, Alex Welsh and Michael Holloway took an Ice Cream Van 10,000 miles to Mongolia, they made it, albeit without the freezer at the end. Highlights/lowlights included encounters with the Kazakh mafia during a drug run, attending two weddings and a bizarre event late one night involving a brothel. Their trip captured the imagination of the BBC and UK:TV amongst others. Sophie Willingale and Helen Emery took a Nissan Micra named Daisy on the Mongolian Rally. They struck trouble by having expired visas in Turkmenistan, got chatted up by the mafia, tackled a severe case of altitude sickness, and broke down in the rough part of Irkutsk at 2am one night. Both teams happened to convoy and whilst doing so they pioneered a Mongolian Rally trip into the wilds of Tajikistan to visit SWORDE-Teppa. All that visited Sworde-Teppa were blown away by the great work and fantastic reception they received. The desire to help this very small charity along with the desire to come back and take on the almost mythical Pamir highway (a road touched by very few tourists – that includes the Mongolian Rally!) led to the creation of the Roof of the World Rally.