Plans for a London to Cape Town long-distance rally have been announced by the Endurance Rally Association.
The route-survey team are now on the final leg, having successfully crossed the Sahara through the centre, from north to south, driven down the western side of central Africa, crossed the River Congo, and romped through the long jungle trails of Angola’s rain forest.
They have not met anything that could be regarded as an ‘anxious moment’ security-wise, have not given away anything to border officials, (not even a Biro), have not found any road which could not be driven by a two-wheel-drive car, and their ten-year-old Land Rover TD5, which hit the 150,000 mark on the odometer as it reached the sign which marks the Equator, has not missed a beat, drinking just one litre of oil for the 8,000-mile route.
“This will be a fabulous rally route,” says Rally Director Philip Young, who is just back from the Congo. The co-founder of the UK’s historic rally scene, initiator of the first international historic rally, the Pirelli Classic Marathon, and best known for the Peking to Paris Rally, reckons his 60th rally route will hopefully go down as the best thing he has ever put on.
The event will be run along traditional lines, like the 1977 London to Sydney: an open-road, Safari-style event, with very long sections. As well as being an original London to Sydney competitor himself, Young has taken part in six Himalayan Rallies as a driver, as well as a Paris-Dakar. He is now putting together a French-speaking team to help him make the Cape Town route a reality, and has been promised a lot of help from local motor-clubs along the route.
There will be categories for Endurance hatchbacks, with classes for cars up to 1600cc and 1400cc, 1970s classics – Young thinks that a Peugeot 504 or Mercedes 280 will be ideal, as spares can be found all along the route – and a 4×4 Category.
Support has come from Gulf Lubricants, Life Buoy Soap, and Corbeau Seats.
The event will start below Big Ben, on London’s Westminster Bridge at midnight on New Year’s Eve, just as the fireworks go up, giving the event exposure to all the TV crews “looking for something different to report, rather than yet another firework,” says Young.
As a former House of Commons political journalist, he has managed to secure the House of Commons car park for pre- event scrutineering. The expected audience of 250,000 spectators to cheer off the cars will be “a sponsor’s dream” says Young, who hopes entrants will tackle their first timed section in a Kent wood, before catching a ferry out of Dover at 5.0am for a non-stop drive to Marseilles, and another ferry to Africa.
“Entrants now have 11 months to build a strong reliable car,” says Young.
For more information, please visit http://www.londoncapetownrally.com, or contact:
St. Mary’s Road,
East Hendred 0X12 8LF.
Tel: 01235 831221.