Mongol Rally 2019: Welwyn Garden City man's Fiat breaks after 6,000 miles
PUBLISHED: 15:44 08 August 2019 | UPDATED: 15:44 08 August 2019
A Welwyn Garden City man's 10,000-mile charity drive to Mongolia has come to an early end after his car broke down.
Mike Fitch was more than 6,000 miles into his journey when his car was damaged beyond repair in Georgia on July 30.
The 39-year-old was travelling to Mongolia in a 1200cc Fiat Panda as part of the Mongol Rally, which is a 'semi-organised' event, by a group called 'The Adventurists'.
"Sadly my trip has come to an end after suffering major suspension failure in Georgia - resulting in damage to the car's control arms, damper, subframe and steering rack," said Mike.
"I managed to patch the car up to get rolling again, but made the call to limp back to Europe and avoid $6000 dollars in import tax when it failed again." "Her furthest point was a town in Georgia called Batumi, where I can only describe the road surface as having recently been bombed - it was that full of craters.
"One of the said craters was my undoing after having to dodge a truck pushing out through a red light.
"I suspect I could have pushed on and made it as far as Kazakhstan, but the car wouldn't have survived the roads out there and once I'd crossed the Caspian Sea the car would have been unrecoverable."
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The former design engineer decided to set out on this epic charity rally after the death of a close friend made him question the way he was living his life.
Mike told the Welwyn Hatfield Times: "After four days and 2,700 miles of limping along, much to my surprise I made it back into England exhausted - I was so focused on getting the car back I drove for 15 to 18 hours a day.
"I made it back on Saturday and parked the Fiat up for the final time - the car is now parked up never to be driven again.
"While I'm very disappointed to have had to abandon the trip, both financially and for my safety it was the right decision to make."
In total Mike travelled 6,330 miles, visited 14 countries in total, was stopped by the army once and police three times.
Mike said: "All in all it was a great adventure, albeit a short one. I've had offers from the teams I helped to get me across the finish line, but I've just turned them down.
"I want to save that part of the trip for 2020! I'm going to go again and this time I'll make it, and hopefully raise a lot more for charity.
"I just don't think I'll be buying a Fiat again!"