KAJIADO, Kenya, June 2 – Over 3000 withstood the heat and dust of Oldonyonyokie Group Ranch in Magadi to mark a quarter century of the Rhino Charge on Saturday.
Team 38 led by Sean Avery carried the day with Mark Glen’s Team 48 and Team 42 with Carr Hartley, Neil and Will McRae in charge finishing second and third.
The annual affair saw enthusiasts decked out in branded T-Shirts that declared their support for one of the 62 competing cars. The team names ranging from: CAT – astrophic, to Sally Slop Cabbage and Frying Squad.
Among the spectators was Miriam who’s branded T-shirt declared her support for Ford, the American car manufacturer.
“I came to showcase the Ford Everest but I’ve seen so many parents come with their children, some so young they can hardly walk. There’s no reason for me not to bring along my six year old daughter next year,” she said.
Tony Hughes has been competing in the Rhino Charge for the last six years and it has now become a family tradition.
“There are six of us on the car 33 team, my son and I, my navigator Martin and his son and two other guys,” Tony told Capital Sport.
The car numbered 33, Tony said, was given its competitive edge by his son Mikey, “Do you know the rally car Moto Moto? He built that too.”
In the 2012 edition, Car 33 came in 10th with only 14 cars managing to complete the race but Tony confessed the 2013 race was proving to be a challenge, “the marbles on the terrain make it hard for the tyres to get a good grip.”
Car 33’s troubles did not end there with the engine refusing to start at some point and the car’s transponder sending intermittent signals to the base station.
“The car’s an old Government vehicle and we’re using the same engine but we did need to put in a new distributor,” Mikey explained.
The challenges aside, “We do it every year because it’s great fun and for a good cause,” Tony said.
Other participants included Ian Duncan in Car number 2 and the defending champion Terry Childs in car number 49.
All the participants are required to raise from Sh1m to Sh500, 000 in support of the conservation efforts that are the reason behind the Charge.
Gran Calder has been officiating the charge for the last 24 years and believes the fundraising required to participate in the event is well worth the effort.
“This is how we managed to put a fence round the Aberdares, it’s the reason we’re almost done with Mt. Eburu and moving on to Mt. Kenya,” he said.
“The 400 Km fence around the Aberdares is quite possibly the longest and the benefits to the environment and the communities that surround those water towers cannot be overstated,” Rhino Ark Trust Executive Director Christian Lambrechts told Capital Sport.
– Report by Olive Barrows