An extreme test of driving skills and physical endurance recognized as the toughest off-road challenge in the world.
They’ve reached their maximum of 56 off-road vehicles and are heading out for Kenya's wildest sports event - the Rhino Charge – which started on June 1.
This extreme test of driving skills and physical endurance is recognized as the toughest off-road challenge in the world, with the location kept a secret until opening day. Not that knowing ahead of time would matter much, as the race this year is going through a 40 sq km tract of uncharted wilderness that’s at least a six-hour drive from Nairobi.
That’s pretty extreme.
But it’s all for a good cause. For many months now, the six-man crews in each vehicle have been canvassing their friends, hosting fund-raising parties, lobbying businesses and even lobbying overseas to maximize the purse the event will generate for the epic "Aberdare Project." This project is to construct a 400 km fence that will preserve the forest habitat and water catchment, and protect neighboring farms from wildlife.
For 20 years in a row, Rhino Chargers have set ever higher fund-raising records. "It will be astonishing if that run is maintained in a year as difficult as this," said Rhino Ark Chairman Colin Church, "but this whole project is something of a miracle, so we live in hope."
The contest is simple: drive across brutal terrain to 13 "guard posts" in the shortest distance and to a time limit. But remember, this entire territory is uncharted; your GPS will do you no good here. And, while entrants are not required to drive a Land Rover, the vast majority of them do. Like "Mega-legs", the Land-Rover (Car 38) of the Avery family and two "Strange Rovers" of Alan McKittrick (Car 5, the fund-raising champion). McKittrick is one of only two competitors who has entered every Rhino Charge since the event's inception. He has won the Victor Ludorum Award (overall victory based on both fund-raising and driving result) for the past four years in succession and his aggregate sponsorship total is without peer.
Next on the all-time fund-raising ladder are Mike and Sarah Higgins, whose Land Rover “Lada Niva” (Car 22) was very old when it first entered....18 years ago. They've not only brought in the second highest in fund-raising, last year Mike almost donated one of his legs to the cause in an on-course winching accident.
Now that’s dedication!
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