Driving from Ireland to Japan: PART TWO

Driving from Ireland to Japan: PART TWO


Entering Mongolia during the Mongol Rally was an exciting moment for us all. We had survived police corruption in Kazakhstan..


We barely spent any time on paved roads and were mostly driving through bumpy dirt paths made by drivers looking for a better route than the main gravel roads that were chewed up by overloaded transport trucks. Whenever we did come to pavement outside a town, it was a messy situation with more obstacles to dodge than the gravel and dirt roads.


I love navigating and followed our map and compass to get us to our next location. Things were a little more difficult than other countries though as the Mongolian map that we got online was 3 years old and many of the roads we were following weren’t even in existence any more.

When deciding to do this trip, not only did I want to do it in an old school car but I also wanted to travel by old school means. No GPS, No mod cons. We compared maps with other teams and realized that ours was complete useless, so soon we tossed it and started driving on blind faith.


Mongolian driving takes a lot of concentration. If you take your eyes off the road for even a second, chances are you will run into a sharp rock or drop into a deep pothole. A couple of hours tops is all the mind can take before it needs a break from staring at the open road.


In these pictures the road seems smooth…. but in reality the car was taking a beating at the time!

We ended up getting stuck in this river, It made a nice change from sand….


The carpets needed a wash anyway!


Mongolia’s attempt at a bridge!


Stuck again, this time the Gobi desert


Surprisingly these were a common import into Mongolia!


From here we reached the(Official) finish line and caught up with some teams that were already there.

It was here that me and Leo decided to stay going and continue the adventure and get to Tokyo in Japan, while the other two team member Sandra and Hans flew home. It was always on mine and Leo’s agenda but we wanted to see how Barbara was after Mongolia to make the decision.


Cold and in woods known to house black bears? Crack open a beer sure!

AE86 Festival Okayama International race circuit           


Checking out our differential problems

When discovering for sure it was our differential we were told that even though this was Japan we would find it difficult to find a gearbox and that is we drive easy we should make it to Tokyo.


It was also here that we met the people behind one of my favourite websites jdmauctionwatch, it was great to see that these people have a true passion in sourcing some of Japans finest and getting them to Ireland for customers, they also said they would help us get the Starlet home for us as we simply couldn’t abandon the car here due to importation costs (yes import into Japan).


We slowly made our way up this narrow island with differential trouble stopping off in Osaka and then up to visit carland in Kyto where we saw some seriously pristine ae86s..


From here we visited Nismo and then into the heart of Tokyo. The original plan was to visit tons of car tuners but with the differential on its way out and all of us promising we will return to Japan we opted out of traveling more than necessary for the poor car.

Entering Tokyo is an experience in itself , so much hustle and bustle and with roads going all directions it keeps a driver and navigator on their toes. Entering the city also gave us a sense of accomplishment.

This car made it! It’s even now as I write this pretty unbelievable. To understand the punishment this car went through to get here you would have to experience being inside it, it took one hell of a battering and came out trumps!


It is at this point I would like to thank everyone that got involved, family and friends. My sponsors http://www.micksgarage.com/default.aspx , http://tctyres.com/ and to http://www.jdmauctionwatch.com whom not only gave us some petrol money but also helped in getting this car on a ship home to everyone who kindly donated to this great cause.

Over €5,000 raise and one unbelievable adventure! If you would like to Donate to this cause please follow this link http://www.mycharity.ie/event/my_left_tyre/ .


Sean Maher





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