Mongol Derby 2017

The Mongol Derby 2017, featured in the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s longest and toughest horse race, got underway August 9th. This is the 9th Derby and it features 13 men and 29 women from eight countries riding 1000km across Mongolia on semi-wild horses.

Riders Heading out on Day One.MongolRaceDayOne

By the day before the final battle to the finish line:

Of the 42 strong field that set out, 35 are still going in the 2017 Mongol Derby, the world’s longest, and errr, did we mention, toughest, horse race at 1000 kms across the Mongolian steppe.

The team on the ground report that they’ve had “four seasons in a week with the Mongolian weather – day two saw borderline hypothermia; snorkels and x-ray vision were highly recommended. Day five saw blazing sun; the mercury may not read sky-high, but when you’re kitted out riding for 13 hours with zero shade, it’s scorching.”

The leading group look set to finish tomorrow – Tuesday 15th August – and battling it out at the front for Derby glory are:

Jakkie Mellett, 40, our potato farmer from Lyndon in South Africa who has displayed incredible riding skills throughout, bringing his horses in at every urtuu (horse station) in brilliant condition – he leads the field at 880 kilometres (and is doing thethe Derby “to prove to his kids their dad is no sissy boy”).
MongolRaceJM_DAY_6_9a

Ed Fernon, 29, our Olympic pentathlete from Sydney Australia, and another South African, Barry Armitage, 51 (who was first past the post in 2012 but thwarted by a vet penalty), are currently in joint second, approx. 25 kilometres behind Jakkie.

MongolDerbyEF_DAY_6_11a

Following them another 40kms behind are William ‘Dingo’ Comiskey, 29 from Long Reach, Australia and joint winner in 2016, and Warren Sutton, 45 from Victoria, Australia.

Retirees  at this point were:

Clare Salmon, UK – bad ankle
Gigi Kay, UK – fractured ribs
Jane Boxhall, UK – fall
Julia Fisher, US – cracked ribs
Marianne Williams, USA – fall
Neil Goldie-Scott, UK – joined his wife, Clare Salmon
Rick Helson, USA – dehydration and hypothermia

THE WINNERS

The 2017 Mongol Derby, the world’s longest and toughest horse race, has been jointly won by 29 year-old Ed Fernon, an Olympic pentathlete from Sydney, Australia, and 51 year-old Barry Armitage, a former professional sailor turned adventurer, from South Africa, first past the post in 2012 (but thwarted by a vet penalty).

MongolDerbyEF_BA_FINISH_1

They crossed the finish line together in ‘stinking hot conditions’ and have covered the 1000 km’s in seven days riding 12 hours a day – and in some of the worst conditions the race has ever seen.

On arrival at the finish line, both headed straight into the lake to cool off.

MongolDerbyEF_BA_FINISH_2

In 3rd place, just a few hours behind was 40 year-old Jakkie Mellett, from Lyndon in South Africa who has displayed incredible riding skills throughout, but received a vet penalty at the final urtuu (horse station) meaning a two hour wait before he could give chase to the others.

MongolDerbyJM_FINISH_9

This means the race had an all-male southern hemisphere podium this year!

Likely to finish next (tomorrow) are William ‘Dingo’ Comiskey, 29, from Long Reach, Australia and joint winner in 2016, and Warren Sutton, 45, from Victoria, Australia.

Credit for all photos to: Julian Herbert @ Mongol Derby 2017

Last year Heidi Telstad, the only Canadian entry in the 2016 Mongol Derby was one of the winners. READ MORE…

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