mae­stro set For moN­go­liaN trek

Two men and their Bul­gar­ian-built LHD Rover pre­pare to raise money for char­ity on gru­elling 16,000-mile trip

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - This Week - Nick Larkin coolearth.org/cam­paigns/13569/ manuel-the-mir­a­cle-mae­stro/ thead­ven­tur­ists.com/mon­gol-rally/

Two univer­sity stu­dents are tak­ing their 1996 Rover Mae­stro to Mon­go­lia – and hope­fully back again – to raise money for char­ity.

Max Holder, 24, and Matt Smith, 20, are depart­ing from Good­wood around midday this Sun­day (16 July) for the 16,000-mile trip, which is ex­pected to take up to eight weeks.

Max says: ‘It’s some­thing I’ve wanted to do for the past seven years. I’m a real petrol­head, but none of my friends would do it with me – un­til Matt and I met at Ex­eter Univer­sity.’

They bought the 1996 Mae­stro on­line for £510, giv­ing it a thor­ough ser­vice and re­plac­ing an ex­haust sec­tion in an­tic­i­pa­tion of the ma­jor trip. The car, which wasn’t reg­is­tered un­til 1999, was among a batch of Mae­stros that was built in Bul­garia but found them­selves in Bri­tain be­cause of low de­mand. Most were con­verted to right-hand drive, but ‘Manuel’ is still a left-hooker.

The lads’ trip will see them cross­ing south­ern Europe, Kaza­khstan and parts of Rus­sia on the out­ward trip, and St Peters­burg and the Arc­tic Cir­cle on the way back. Some 200 teams are par­tic­i­pat­ing, although most of the other com­peti­tors won’t be driv­ing a Bri­tish car from the Eight­ies built in Bul­garia in the Nineties. Matt says: ‘It’s def­i­nitely go­ing to be an ad­ven­ture – we might even make it back again!’

Money raised by the ad­ven­ture will go to the anti-de­for­esta­tion en­vi­ron­men­tal char­ity, Cool Earth.

Max Holder (left) and Matt smith with Manuel the Mae­stro.

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