The Mongol Rally
The Mongol Rally is considered to be the greatest motoring adventure on the planet. Every summer, around 250 teams cover over 10,000 miles across the mountains, desert and steppe to reach Mongolia. There’s no backup, no support, and no set route. In 2017, we completed the Mongol Rally in Martha – our 1996 gold Nissan Micra.
The rules of the Mongol Rally are very simple:
1 You can only take a farcically small vehicle (Martha)
2 You are completely on our own
3 You have to raise money for charity
If nothing goes wrong, everything has gone wrong. If it’s not dangerous, andyou're not lost, then you're not on an adventure.
Martha the Micra
Martha was Georgia’s first car. In 2012, we returned from another road trip across the USA with a week to spare before Georgia started a job with Marie Curie, which involved driving all over the country. She needed a car. She needed it fast. And, being Georgia, she refused to spend any more money than absolutely necessary.
When Georgia first set eyes on Martha, it was love at first sight. Yes, Martha was old (she started her life in 1996). But she was cheap (£500), and she was very, very gold. Did Georgia think “I will keep this car for five years, and then drive it to Mongolia”?
Well, no. Martha was an emergency-car-for-the-next-six-months kind of purchase, but since then Martha drove all over the UK. She would clock up 300+ miles a day when Georgia was working for Marie Curie, visiting hospices around the country and doing her very best for people at the end of their lives. And she kept going. Over five years she failed a few MOTs, was loaned to two of Georgia’s friends for their car related needs, and drove over 35,000 miles. She even had a starring role at Georgia and Shane’s wedding as the wedding car.
Georgia and Martha had a special bond. They loved going on adventures together, and Martha was wonderful car that has served Georgia well since they first came together back in 2012.
In 2017, Georgia and Shane drove Martha all the way through Europe and Central Asia to Mongolia and to the Mongol Rally finish line in Ulan Ude. This was to be Martha's last great adventure. The little gold star drove 15,000km over various terrains. In fact, she loved driving off-road. She didn't break down once. She didn't even get a flat tyre. She was perfect. So perfect that she was given to another team at the end of the Rally to help them get home.
We started the Mongol Rally on the 16th of July 2017 at Goodwood Motor Circuit. We reached the final finish line party on the 9th of September 2017 in Ulan Ude, Russia. There was no set route for where to go in between.
We drove through Europe, Turkey and Georgia to Azerbaijan, and then to took a cargo ferry over the Caspian Sea to Turkmenistan. From there we toured the ‘Stans, passing through Uzbekistan and taking the Pamir Highway through Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan to Kazakhstan. The final section of the trip was the one Martha loved the most – driving 1,000 miles on interesting and non-existent roads from the West of Mongolia to Ulaanbaatar. From Ulaanbaatar we had a last stint to Ulan Ude in Russia where the rally finished. From there we donated Martha to another team for their drive back to Europe, and carried on with the rest of our adventure.
For our top tips, lessons learned and a detailed account of our experiences along the way, please have a read of our Mongol Rally blog posts below 🙂