FOUR friends from Dorchester will be tackling one of the most gruelling trips in the world when they take part in the Mongol Rally this summer.
They will be raising money for two charities - Spinal Research and the Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance - and plan to donate their rally cars to Mongolian farmers at the end of their journey.
Tom Thornycroft, formerly of Okeford Fitzpaine, and Chris King, Lee Goddard and Paul Reis, all from Dorchester, will set out on the Mongol Rally in July.
They will be using two Suzuki Alto cars packed with all their supplies, spares and camping equipment and taking a 10,000 mile route through some of the world’s political hotspots to reach the capital of Mongolia.
Tom, 28, said: “The rules of the rally are simple - cars must be small and under 1.2litre and you are on your own.
“There is no support, no back-up of any kind. Come hell or high water or tourist-starved border guards, no help is coming.
“We are going as two teams travelling together, two in each car. It’s going to be very hard and very basic, but I’m sure we’ll be all right together and still be friends at the end of it.”
He said they had talked about taking part in the Mongol Rally but it was after another friend broke his neck in an accident that they decided to go for it and raise money for the charities.
The route will take in 18 countries and three mountain ranges before hitting the Mongolian Steppe and the final destination of Ulaanbaatar.
Tom said: “We’re all really excited about it though I do get a bit nervous when I think about the political situation in some of the countries.
“I went trekking in Nepal last year and saw little Suzuki Altos being used as taxis out there so that gave me a bit of confidence in the cars we’ve got.”
They have nicknamed their cars Ivor and Eddie. The rally is a source of much-needed vehicles and spares to isolated Mongolian communities.
The cost of buying the cars, all their supplies and costs including flights home is £6,000 which the team are finding through sponsorship and their own fundraising.
In addition they are seeking donations for the charities and Tom hopes they will be able to hand over £10,000. They intend to keep the donations rolling in while they are on the road with updates and stories to keep friends and family involved throughout.
To find out more about supporting the team and making a donation, call Tom on 07880 527809.
Donations can be made online for the air ambulance at www.justgiving.com/dorset-somersetmongolrally or to www.justgiving.com/mongolrallyTT for Spinal Research.
Tom said: “We decided last August to do this - suddenly it seems to be coming round quickly.
“We’re busy sorting out visas and doing fund raising like pub quizzes and organising a charity ball at Athelhampton House on 23rd February.
“We wanted to do something that is a genuine challenge to encourage people to give to these two excellent charities. It’s certainly going to be challenging.”