All set in the mountains, game reserves and private estates of East Africa, twenty five competitors will be gathering in Watmanu this weekend ready to start the 2,000-mile (3,600km) route covering 19 days of driving adventure, over 20 regularity sections and some challenging speed tests, many set on private land.
Unlike the Carrera Iberia, which was staged entirely on asphalt roads, this time the majority of the competition is set on more rugged gravel roads.
Rally Headquarters is based in Watamu, with its white sandy beaches and nature reserves on the Indian Ocean. As well as being home to Official Scruntineering and pre-event Administrative Checks, Watamu will also host the final Gala Prizegiving Dinner. In-between, crews will stay at top-notch Safari Lodges and luxury hotels along an unforgettable route through no fewer than nine wildlife-rich National Parks in both Kenya and Tanzania. These include the Serengeti, Masai Mara and Ngorongoro Crater as well as the Ngong Hills, made famous by the movie Out of Africa.
Entries range from a 1924 Vauxhall 30/98, to a number of rally-proven classic Porsche 911s from the mid-seventies. There are some notable crews among the entrants, too. Carrera Iberia winners Alan and Tina Beardshaw return – not, though, in their victorious Aston Martin DB5 but in a 1973 Triumph TR6 deemed to be more suitable for the gravel roads of Africa. Peking to Paris winners Graham and Marina Goodwin are also seeking further success in their 1929 Bentley 4 1⁄2 Le Mans.
However, when it comes to local knowledge, Rob Collinge is very much the man to beat. The renowned Kenyan is twice a winner of the East African Safari Rally, when the event ran for classic cars in 2003 and 2005. Those two wins came behind the wheel of a Datsun 240Z and 260Z – intriguingly, this time Collinge has selected a 1954 Willys Jeep (photo below).
Regular reports and results from the Southern Cross Safari will be available via the www.rallytheglobe.com website, with a great selection of rights-free photographs from the Rally available for media on request post-event.
The Southern Cross Safari marks the start of a very busy portfolio of events for the already acclaimed new Rally the Globe team. In April comes the Celtic Challenge set in the British Isles, and quickly thereafter the start of the ultimate ‘Round the World’ circumnavigation, split into three stand-alone sections between May 2020 and June 2021 – London to Casablanca, Boston to Vancouver and Vladivostok to London. A few remaining places on those events are still available for those looking to take advantage of Rally the Globe’s inspiration, vision and expertise.