Two friends have embarked on one of the world’s most challenging motor rallies with the aim of reaching Mongolia in a tiny hatchback.

Ed Blackwell and Mike Parlby, both 22, are taking part in the Mongol Rally, hailed as the greatest motoring adventure on the planet.

The course sees participants cross two continents and 19 countries, covering 10,000 miles on mainly rough terrain, in ‘farcically small vehicles’.

Ed, from Callington, and Mike, of Yelverton, will have to traverse mountains, deserts and steppe with no backup, no set route, and driving a 0.8-litre Daewoo Matiz.

The pair have entered the rally to support the Max Levene Trust, a fund set up to help a young man left paralysed after breaking his neck in a rugby accident in 2010.

Ed and Mike have also chosen to support the Backup Trust, a charity which helps those affected by spinal injury, and in addition a proportion of their sponsorship will benefit the Mongol Rally’s chosen charity Cool Earth.

Ed and Mike will be aiming to reach Ulan Bataar in Mongolia by mid-September. To follow their progress visit their blog at