09:26AM, Wednesday 19 September 2012
Former Windsor Boys' School pupils have driven 16,200 miles through 22 countries in six weeks to raise money for a children's charity.
Ben Cox, James McGrath and Rob Hope, all 36, took part in the Mongol Rally driving a 1.1 litre Renault Kangoo, called Stompy, from the UK to Mongolia.
They passed through three deserts, five mountain ranges and countries including Georgia, Turkmenistan, and Kazakhstan, arriving back two weeks ago.
Their epic adventure raised more than £7,000 for children's charity the Alexander Devine Children's Hospice Service, and £500 for a Mongolian orphanage.
Ben, who now lives in Brighton, said it was a trouble-free journey apart from a few hairy moments.
He said: "Turkmenistan was a nightmare to get into and they made it so difficult for us. It took us 36 hours to get in.
"We were asked to pay many fines and bribes, but we were always able to defuse the situation with fun and confusion which we became experts at.
"But we were chased by police in Russia on one occasion."
Despite losing their compass and having no map, they made it to Ulaanbaatar in Mongolia using much of the Silk Road trade route.
He and friend James, of Osborne Road, Windsor, then had to drive back in Stompy, which has a top speed of 60mph, while Rob, who lives in Los Angeles, went his own way.
British Gas engineer Ben, a former pupil at St Peter's Middle School in Old Windsor, said they did it in seven days, spending 24 hours a day at the wheel.
He said: "We had no map or compass of Russia until we were very close to Moscow and simply drove using the sun and muddled through with local knowledge.
"With upset stomachs, no means of washing apart from wet wipes and no change of clothes our mood was surprisingly upbeat and jovial for the journey."
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