Mongol Rally: NI to Asia in a Micra

24 Replies

We recently caught wind of a team of young enthusiastic lads from Co. Down that were planning an adventure of a lifetime and immediately got on the case with catching up with them ahead of their trip which will thunder 10,000 miles across the mountains, desert and steppe of Europe with the finish line in Asia.

According to the Mongol Rally official website: “There’s no backup, no support and no set route; just you, your fellow adventurers and a tiny car you bought from a scrap yard for £11.50.

If nothing goes wrong, everything has gone wrong. Bollocks to tarmac, ABS and gadgets that help you find your navel.


The Mongol Rally is about getting lost, using your long neglected wits, raising shed loads of cash for charity and scraping into the finish line with your vehicle in tatters and a wild grin smeared across your grubby face. Neither your car, nor your life, will ever be the same again.”

Twenty One year old pals Matthew Gourley, Andrew Bennett and Jordan Barr who went through school at Down High together have since progressed into different areas of further education however have stayed as very close pals all coming from the Ballygowan and Ballynahinch areas.

Around eighteen months ago Matthew found a promotional video for some event called the “Mongol Rally” and after sharing with the other lads they all knew immediately that this was something they HAD to be part of.

This brings us to now and just a few weeks ago the lads sorting out funding and sponsorship to enable them to not only take part in one of the biggest adventures of their lives, but also raise money for Tiny Life in the process.


On researching the event and chatting with past participants they soon realised that a Nissan Micra would be the best steed for the journey as they are reliable and parts are easily gotten when in the Asian areas as well as throughout Europe.

A Micra was found on Gumtree and a deal was struck, the car has since been to Blackwater Graphics in Comber for an outstanding livery and the lads have made an agricultural sump guard and put all the brake and fuel lines inside the car to prevent damage on what can be described as “non roads” once you get past Russia.

This comment of “non roads” came from Chris Clugston of Bangor Tyre & Service Centre who actually completed the event way back in 2008 in a VW Polo Derby and commented “No other words can describe the rally than EPIC, it is a once in a lifetime trip and I would even go as far as saying the trip of a lifetime”.

The rally leaves from Goodwood Race Circuit on the 18th July where team “Car of the County Down” will set a hot lap of the circuit before setting off on the adventure. It will then take around six weeks to get to the finish line in Mongolia.

This is going to be a summer never to forget for these boys and we would like to take this opportunity to wish them the best of luck and if anyone would like to donate to Tiny Life via team Car of the County Down, we hope to have a link available soon for this.


About Author

Graham is a professional photographer and motoring writer with over 15 varied years of coverage from manufacturer press launches to international motorsport and rally events throughout the world. Graham is a full member of the Guild of Motoring Writers. See more at

RMS Forum Comments

Cooper replied at 14:53, Fri 26 Jun, 2015
@Blackwater Graphics
Graham replied at 21:34, Fri 26 Jun, 2015
The three lads are doing this for Tiny Life charity and you can donate here
Cess replied at 10:04, Mon 29 Jun, 2015
Adventure of a lifetime! Great sounding trip and what a fantastic way to raise money. Those Micras are hardy little cars. Updates and pictures from the lads, when they embark would be good. Intrigued by the state of roads beyond Russia!
Lyons replied at 10:48, Mon 29 Jun, 2015
A mate of mine did this a few years ago in an ambulance. Looked like great craic, especially some of the other stuff they did on the way.
davecoupe replied at 11:09, Mon 29 Jun, 2015
Class. I'd love to do something like this.
pheunos replied at 16:35, Thu 02 Jul, 2015
My father in law is away on a similar journey to Mongolia in a Suzuki Jimny this morning. Sounds like a brilliant trip.
Ghisallo replied at 05:31, Sat 04 Jul, 2015
Always wanted to do this, would be some craic.
StevenMc29 replied at 07:26, Sat 04 Jul, 2015
Seen this in Queens. Think the guys were making a sump guard when I seen them. Would love to do something like this!
Ghisallo replied at 07:42, Sat 04 Jul, 2015
I had my wee polo breadvan all ready to do this in 1997 but I got offered my preferred work placement at British Airways Engineering starting that June. Had to take the job and the rest is history!
WiBa replied at 11:29, Mon 06 Jul, 2015
| My father in law is away on a similar journey to Mongolia in a Suzuki Jimny this morning. Sounds like a brilliant trip.
Any word on Gary's progress so far?!