2019 Mongol Derby: Rider Feature 4 - Team Chisholm
*RACE STARTS TOMORROW!*
Another team made up of strong contenders for both the Top Trumps and the Fun Trumps, this time helicopter driver (I know, I thought they were called pilots too - as described on his blog) Sam Chisholm (AUS) and paleo-botanist Michael Field (UK).
Sam was roped in (NO PUN INTENDED) (NO, REALLY) to the Derby by his cousin, Pip but sadly as I write this I have just learnt that Pip has had a fall and won't be riding off the start on 7 August. Still, her aim was to raise money for breast cancer having survived twice and Team Chisholm has smashed through their fundraising target of $5,000 AUD which is hopefully some comfort. You can cheer Pip and her teammates up by donating to the National Breast Cancer Foundation here.
I picked Sam as a possible winner because he grew up on Napperby Station in the Northern Territory, so he is no stranger to sitting on a horse in wild open country, even if from the look of his stunning photographs (please visit his insta - it's amazing @sammchis) he spends more time in the air these days. He hints in his blog that various friends of his have previously raced the derby, so he knows what he is getting himself into and may have had some helpful advice and he has also visited Mongolia before as part of the Mongol Rally, where he picked up Michael Field...
You can listen to Sam talking about the upcoming race here
Imagine a leafy sort of Indiana Jones and you'll be getting close to Michael Field. He has spent time working on the creation of the Last Interglacial (Eemian) pollen database, rooting around in the Pleistocene sections exposed by open cast mining in Tagebau (central Europe) and more recently investigating the response of the vegetation to the volcanic eruption on the Caribbean island of Montserrat. IN HIS SPARE TIME this rather glamorous Associate Professor at Leiden competes in dressage, eventing and show jumping. Presumably hopping off to dig up something fascinating every now and then. He has extensive excavation experience.
What is he doing on the start line and why did I pick him as a possible winner? Obviously I love a Renaissance man, but he also said in his bio that he has "hunted a lot" which I believe is horse person speak for "I am a lunatic" and this quality, combined with an excellent sporting pedigree (cross country running and rugby, as well as general horse stuff) and an unquestionably genuine enthusiasm for the flora of Mongolia may well translate into excellent results.
Choo choo Team Chishom! May the best horses be with you! You can follow them on Facebook or here on my blog.