Mongol Derby 2011

AST Systems Ltd provided the Adventurists with a BGAN Explorer 700 and four Iridium 9555 satellite phones for the 2011 Mongol Derby.

The Mongol Derby is the World’s longest horse race, which takes place across 1000kms of pristine Mongolian steppe. 25 international riders, mounted on semi-wild native horses, navigate between a series of horse stations 40kms apart where they change to fresh horses and eat and rest with local herding families, in a reconstruction of Genghis Khan’s horse messenger system.

The remoteness of the location, with virtually no cellular coverage, and the sophistication of the back-up system, with veterinary and medical support required all the way up the course places a huge premium on reliable satellite communication. In addition, the race enjoys a very loyal and enthusiastic online following, placing a high demand on the organisers, the Adventurists, to deliver updates and media from the field.

"Our partnership with AST enabled both elements to be delivered seamlessly. Emergency communications and race directives were relayed from the Derby’s office in Ulaanbaatar, to back up teams, who were able to respond in kind, relay progress, and get input where required from the race directors in the field. The magnetic in-car aerials allowed us to use the equipment with full signal whilst on the move, which was critical for emergency response vehicles. In addition, photos and audio commentary updates were uploaded from the field directly to the Adventurists office in Bristol, UK, allowing Derby fans to see action from the day’s racing, around the world, within hours."

"The 2011 Derby field included Northern Ireland Secretary Owen Paterson. 5 days into the race the civil unrest in Britain was making headlines round the world and the Event Manager, Katy Willings, was informed by Mr Paterson’s team in the UK that he may be required back in London for an emergency session of Parliament. Using the Iridium satellite phones we were able to put Mr Paterson in immediate contact with UK Parliament to discuss the situation and his position as a cabinet Minister. He was able to continue with confidence, knowing how fast we would be able to inform and evacuate him should it become necessary. Mr Paterson also aimed to raise an incredible £50,000 for charity through his Mongol Derby ride, and to this end he conducted a thorough media campaign. Katy was able to conduct a live interview with BBC radio to report on his progress, and to send photos of him in action to his press team using the BGAN. The Patersons have now raised close to £60,000." stated Katy Willings, Event Manager.