Racing on three wheels across frozen Siberia

PUBLISHED : Monday, 02 April, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 02 April, 2012, 12:00am


Before Scott Taylor and Michael Godby set off to ride through icy Siberia in February, their only preparation was to pitch a tent on The Peak and sip some vodka at an ice bar.

The two Hong Kong residents then rode a motorbike for eight days in temperatures as low as minus 40 degrees Celsius, won a race, raised money for charity and learned about the kindness of Russian strangers.

Taylor, 30, and Godby, 28, took part in the first 'Ice Run' race organised by The Adventurists, a Britain-based firm. Eleven teams of two travelled 2,000 kilometres through frozen Siberia, starting in Irbit and ending in Salekhard.

'It's a very memorable trip,' Godby, a recruitment consultant, said. 'We had no idea how we'd get from A to B, and every morning when we woke up, we had no idea what's going to happen that day. And that's a really good feeling. You just have fun and accept what's thrown at you.'

Taylor and Godby were the last team to leave the starting line on the first day of the race, struggling with their 650cc Ural motorbike and sidecar.

The team also dropped a sleeping bag on the way, so Godby, who lost a game of rock-paper-scissors, had to sleep in the cold.

'I think I didn't really cope with that,' Godby said. 'I was very cold and I didn't want to go to sleep, in case I didn't wake up. And, the trouble was in the morning: you wake up and you're wet and cold, but you can't go to the sauna to get warm or you can't sit by the radiator. You have to go on ... cold and with wet feet.'

It was the help from the 100 Russians they met along the way that turned things around, they said.

'They fed us, they let us sleep in their houses. They fixed the motorbike for us for free,' Taylor said. 'And, no one would take anything from us.'

That was 'very different' from what they expected, they said.

'Everyone told us before we went that Russians are aggressive and scary,' Taylor said. 'But they are actually amazing people.'

The two also took part in the Rickshaw Challenge last year, riding motorised rickshaws around India.

They plan to do a challenge every year.

'You got to challenge yourself when you work in a city. Hong Kong is a very easy, very safe, very convenient city to live in,' Taylor said.

The duo were sponsored by investment management firm XIE Shares and raised HK$135,866 for Room to Read, which helps educate children in developing countries.