Ned’s giant panda rally challenge

Adam (Ned) Niedojadio in his panda onesy suit marks out the route the adventurers will take.
Adam (Ned) Niedojadio in his panda onesy suit marks out the route the adventurers will take.

A former soldier from Mansfield is preparing for one of his toughest challenges yet - is driving almost half way around the world in a £800 Fiat Panda.

Adam “Ned” Niedojadlo is hoping to raise more than £1,000 for the Army Benevolent fund and global environmental charity Cool Earth, when he takes part in the Mongol Rally later this month.

The 30-year-old, of Forest Town, left the Army as a staff sergeant aircraft technician 18 months ago after 13 years’ service, which included tours in Afghanistan and Iraq

He said; My plan was to travel around the world and I was looking for a serious adventure after travelling around South America.

“I had planned to ride a motorbike I had built to Australia but things didn’t work out.

“ A friend had taken part in the Mongol rally and said it was an amazing experience.”

The Mongol Rally takes drivers 10,000 miles across the mountains, desert and steppe of Europe and Asia each summer – in a “farcically small vehicle” .

Ned and his co-driver Joe Atkins will drive their Panda through France, Romania, Turkey , Georgia, Russia and Kazakhstan on route to Mongolia

Ned said: “The Rally starts on Sunday,from Goodwood race track and we are aiming to get to Ulan Bator, the capital of Mongolia, in a month before Joe has to go back to work in Norway.

The former pupil at Mansfield’s Garibaldi College said: “The terrain will be challenging, there aren’t many roads and you are driving straight into the unknown. There are no recovery services and if you break down or crash, you have to survive on your wits.”

The rules of the rally, which is run by The Adventurists, state vehicles must be under 1,200cc, but Ned said he was confident his Panda, which he bought damaged, will have no problem making the journey.

The only additions have been a roof rack, a special snorkel for river crossings and some spare wheels.

Ned’s Facebook page is Super Red Thunder Business Pandas World Wide.