'Idiot Abroad' joins bike challenge to Mongolia

By Jennifer Lipman, July 13, 2012
Nick Plotnek ready for the journey of a lifetime

Nick Plotnek ready for the journey of a lifetime

A Birmingham businessman is about to set off on the journey of a lifetime to Mongolia to raise money for the children’s heart unit that cared for his late son.

Nick Plotnek, 55, has entered the Mongol Rally, an annual challenge taking participants 10,000 miles across 19 countries, three deserts and five mountain ranges — and through eight time zones. He will have to navigate some poor quality roads in extreme temperatures on a route finishing in the Mongolian capital, Ulaanbaatar.

His mode of transport will be a small motorbike designed for learner drivers that “you probably wouldn’t even consider going down to the shops on”. He and teammate Kevin Strickland have labelled themselves the “Idiots Abroad”.

The target is to collect at least £12,000 in sponsorship for the Birmingham Children’s Hospital, where his son Robert was treated before his death nine years ago, shortly after being barmitzvah. The money will help equip a new high dependency unit.

“It’s the Queen’s Jubilee year and as Robert was lucky enough to meet her when she opened the hospital in 1998, I thought it would be a great idea to do something positive in his memory,” Mr Plotnek said.

His main concern was colliding with a yak. “When I was in India in 2007 I hit an elephant on a motorbike and I’ve still got the scars to prove it,” he recalled.

He will be travelling light, but will be taking one special item — “I’d like to lay tefillin in a ger [Mongolian] tent.”

Last updated: 12:13pm, July 13 2012