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Team Smart Arses rally for mental health

35-year-old Jono Boyd, and his 28-year-old girlfriend Rebecca Cooke. Image: Supplied.

Imagine driving 18,000km across three deserts, five mountain ranges and 23 countries in the smallest smart car ever to help put the spotlight on mental health.

That’s what a young Kiwi-British couple will do when they take to the road this week to drive from the UK to Mongolia in a 2002 Smart Passion City Coupe.

This week, 35-year-old Jono Boyd, and his 28-year-old girlfriend Rebecca Cooke kicked off a two-month journey across Europe, Central Asia to Mongolia as part of the Mongol Rally.

Sponsored by Driveline, New Zealand’s leading car leasing and finance specialists, Team Smart Arses will tackle many challenges before they aim to cross the finish line on, or before September 16.

The adventurous duo aim to raise over $10,000 along the way for their chosen New Zealand charity, I AM HOPE.

“We’re always up for stepping outside of our comfort zones and the Mongol Rally ticked all the boxes for us – we can experience parts of the world we’ve never been to before while putting the spotlight on charities we feel passionate about,” says Jono, who will share the journey with the couple’s 18,000 plus followers on social media.

“Rebecca and I don’t do things by halves, so we decided to make the rally even harder for ourselves by choosing the smallest car imaginable for the job, a 0.6L car we’ve named the ‘Smart Arse’.”

Jono is a recovered methamphetamine addict who has overcome mental health issues and says I AM HOPE, a charity founded by Kiwi celebrity Mike King to support those suffering mental health problems, resonates strongly with him.

Driveline CEO Lance Manins, who is recovered alcoholic, met Jono nine years ago at rehab and wanted to support the couple’s drive.

“Jono and I have both been on our own personal journeys with addiction and mental health and share the motivation to help others who are going through tough times,” says Lance.

“This is a great opportunity for Driveline to get behind Jono and Rebecca’s drive of a difference to make a difference.”

The young couple, who met while hiking in the Himalayas in 2018, most recently travelled around New Zealand in a Toyota Hilux motorhome for six months, but Rebecca, a freelance writer, says this will be their biggest test yet.

“During the past year we’ve been travelling the world together at a leisurely and comfortable pace, but this will be a bit different,” says Rebecca, who add they are squeezing 40 litres of fuel supply into the tiny car, along with all other essentials –food, clothing and shelter – during the traverse.

Team Smart Arses plan to drive for up to 14 hours each day, with 300 other people from all corners of the globe. With its flashing lights and unusual sounding horn, ‘Smart Arse’ is sure to turn heads.

“We had to get a whole new clutch put in the car just two weeks ago as the original clutch was slipping, so we’re hopeful ‘Smart Arse’ will do us proud and get us all the way in one piece,” says Jono.

“We’re very grateful to everyone that has had confidence in us to do this, particularly Driveline – we wouldn’t be able to do this without all the support.”

Team Smart Arses are also raising funds for Cool Earth, committed to protecting the planet’s rainforests from deforestation and Chilypep, that builds emotional resilience and improves young people’s mental health services, in addition to the mental health awareness charity I AM HOPE.

To follow Team Smart Arses’ journey follow:

YouTube (Jono & Rebecca Go Places): https://www.youtube.com/c/jonorebeccagoplaces

Instagram: www.instagram.com/jono.boyd

To donate: https://givealittle.co.nz/fundraiser/england-to-mongolia-in-a-06l-smart-car

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