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Last Updated: Tuesday, 20 April, 2004, 15:41 GMT 16:41 UK
Kite buggies bid to cross desert
Kieron Bradley
A travel documentary inspired Kieron Bradley. Photograph: www.aeolian.co.uk
Three men are planning to cross 625 miles of desert using just wind power.

Kieron Bradley, 30, and Peter Ash, 34, both from Norfolk, and Professor Brian Cunningham, of Greater Manchester, will cross the Gobi desert in kite buggies.

The trip, planned for September, will start in the Altay region of Mongolia and finish in the Erdenaalai region.

The 43lb buggies measure 8ft x 8ft and have a top speed of 90mph, but the men will travel at about 30mph in temperatures of up to 104 deg F.

The men will wear helmets and Kevlar body armour in case they are thrown onto the jagged terrain.

The biggest problem for the buggies will be wear and tear on the wheels, but there will be other hazards to watch out for as well, such as rabid dogs
Kieron Bradley
Father-of-three Mr Bradley, of Norwich, a former Formula One engineer who now designs kite buggies professionally, came up with the idea for the trip after watching a Michael Palin travel documentary about the Gobi.

"It was really a spur-of-the-moment suggestion.

"It will be an incredible challenge because the Gobi is known for its high winds. Most of the sand gets blown away, leaving a terrain of jagged rocks.

"The biggest problem for the buggies will be wear and tear on the wheels, but there will be other hazards to watch out for as well, such as rabid dogs."

Garage-owner Mr Ash, also from Norwich, will be the expedition's main mechanic.

Professor Cunningham, 60, of Bolton, a corporate speaker and experienced adventurer, is the main logistical organiser.

His most recent adventure, the Kit Kat Ice Kites Expedition across the Antarctic in 2002, was thwarted by one of the most windless periods on record at the South Pole.

A lot of fun

He said there was also a serious purpose behind the latest adventure.

"It is a completely fuel-free means of land transport, so the potential in environmental terms and for the developing world is quite considerable.

"This is a tremendous opportunity to try to push back the boundaries of what these remarkable vehicles can do.

"Although this is a very serious undertaking, we aim to have a lot of fun too."

The men will be supported by a team in two 4x4 vehicles carrying water, supplies and equipment.

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