Three friends take on drive of their lives for charities

Luke Bisby, Steffen Kahrmann and Craig Warren will be driving 10,000 miles
Luke Bisby, Steffen Kahrmann and Craig Warren will be driving 10,000 miles
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IT has been described as 10,000 miles of “pure adventure” over mountains, deserts and some of the most remote terrain on the planet.

A trio of international engineers at Edinburgh University will be among the adventure seekers driving to Ulaanbaatar in Mongolia as part of the Mongol Rally this summer.

Canadian Dr Luke Bisby, Scot Dr Craig Warren and Steffen Kahrmann from Germany, plan to purchase either a second-hand Nissan Micra or a Toyota Yaris for the adventure.

They will leave the Capital on July 14 and hope to make it to Mongolia in one piece within around four weeks.

The friends plan to raise at least £1000 for the Lotus Children’s Centre Charitable Trust in Mongolia, which provides shelter, food and education to vulnerable children and families, and £5000 for the Scottish Association for Mental Health.

Mr Kahrmann, a PhD student in fire safety engineering at Edinburgh University, said: “We strongly believe that mental health issues are insufficiently acknowledged in our society, and we hope to raise awareness – in addition to funds – through our participation in the rally.

“We have had personal experiences through family members and friends where we thought we should support people who actually work with people with mental health problems.”

The trio, who have called their team “Khannonball Run”, will camp and stay in hostels along the way, and plan to spend around £2000 on the car, which must have an engine size of less than 1.2 litres and have been registered on or after January 1, 2003.

Mr Kahrmann, 31, who lives in Newington, added: “Our name is a tongue-in-cheek nod to that 1981 epic, The Cannonball Run, and reference to the great Mongolian Emperor Genghis Khan. We will travel across one third of the world’s surface, through countries such as Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Russia and eventually Mongolia.

“We haven’t done anything like this before and wanted to do something which wasn’t the usual charity event.

“The spirit of the rally is to do it in a very small car, which we will buy in the next couple of weeks.”

Dr Bisby, 37, lives in Stockbridge and is an engineering professor at Edinburgh University, while Dr Warren, 31, lives in Leith and is a teaching fellow at the university.

Dr Warren said: “We are all massively excited but at the same time terrified of the adventure that we are likely to go through.

“We are all engineers so if the three of us can’t at least get the car the distance then it doesn’t say too much about our engineering skills.”

The charity rally will take them through around 17 countries, with the trio leaving from Edinburgh and joining about 400 rally teams to officially set off from Goodwood, in West Sussex, on July 14.

To sponsor Khannonball Run, visit www.khannonballrun.co.uk.