A few years back we had the idea of doing the 10,000-mile Mongol rally on Monkey Bikes – not the Honda ones, but 90cc Jenching replicas. With some friends, me and my brother Wayne put on bash plates, bigger oil coolers and stronger shocks, and went from 8in to 10in wheels with Continental tyres.
We had been told about a ‘not too rough’ riding route from Alamos to Copper Canyon but having studied the map, we decided to do the sensible thing and take the B roads. Off we headed into the hills in bright sunshine, me astride my 1200GS and Tony on his 1150 Adventure. He had every conceivable extra including a sat nav, which was set to no motorways, no U turns, shortest route, never avoid unpaved roads.
It wasn't Igor's size that made him intimidating, being made more of beer than of muscle. Instead, it was the way every person in Semipalatinsk, Kazakhstan, would bend over backwards to make sure Igor went away happy, even the police. I guess that’s the level of respect you command when you’re a well connected crime lord in a remote backwater famous only for Soviet-era nuclear weapons testing.