Underdogs unite: JVC cameras document 10,000 mile UK-Mongolia rally—with regular cars!


posted Monday, July 15, 2013 at 5:22 PM EDT

Everybody loves to root for an underdog. In the action camera world, mainstream brands like JVC and Sony are in a titanic battle with the well-entrenched GoPro brand, which for years has had the market pretty-much to itself. For auto racing fans, no less epic a battle has just commenced: the Mongol Rally, a thrilling 10,000 mile race that pits the underdogs of the vehicular world against the worst Mother Nature has to offer -- and JVC's Adixxion-branded action cameras are going along for the ride!

The rulebook for the Mongol Rally couldn't be much shorter, and yet a the same time couldn't place much greater a demand on its contestants. Drive a regular road car with an engine below 1.2 liters (or a motorcycle below 125cc) from the starting line at Dover Castle in the UK to a finish almost a third of the way around the planet in Mongolia. (Sükhbaatar Square, in the center of the Mongolian capital Ulaanbaatar, to be precise.) And once you get there? Sell your car or bike, and donate the proceeds th a Mongolian charity.

The Mongol Rally started off at Dover Castle in the UK, with ceremonial -- and not so ceremonial -- jousting. The finish line is 10,000 miles away in Mongolia.

Vehicles must be registered in the UK no earlier than January 2004, and as for the route -- well, there isn't one. Head north, south, or somewhere in between. Heck, go out of your way and take the scenic route, if you like. The point isn't to drive in a dusty caravan via the shortest route possible, but to choose the challenges you and your underpowered vehicle will face along the way. (And to approach the race with something of a party atmosphere -- it started off with a bout of car jousting, no less!)

Each team in the Mongol Rally, which is in its tenth running, raises £1,000 for charity before leaving the start line, split equally between the officially-selected charity Cool Earth, and the team's own favorite charity. This year, some 170 teams and 600 people from 31 countries are taking part in the race, and as proof of the self-proclaimed "un-route" selected for the race, the official tracking map currently shows teams everywhere from Switzerland in the south to Denmark in the north, while the easternmost teams are already in the Czech Republic.

A total of 170 teams from 31 countries started this year's race. Here, an Italian / Spanish joint effort -- Daniele Perelli and Raul Ruiz, aka Team NeverMindThePanda -- leaves the starting line.

Which team will make it to Ulaanbaatar first? We've no idea, but we're looking forward to finding out, and to watching the video footage uploaded by the teams using their JVC Adixxion cameras. (It will, says JVC, be uploaded to their official Facebook and Twitter pages.) No matter who crosses the finish line first, race fans can look forward to that delicious taste of an underdog victory -- and so can JVC, safe in the knowledge that the much-hyped GoPro isn't in the driver's seat for this particular race!