K2 and Mwala Elephant Charge 2015 – a celebration of the great outdoors, by David Findlay

  The Autoworld team making their way to the starting point at sunrise

The Autoworld team making their way to the starting point at sunrise

Background to the 2015 Elephant Charge

This year the Elephant Charge took place on October 3rd, with a total of 16 teams taking part. This was a stunning event at a stunning location, complete with large natural swimming pool. Everyone attending the Elephant Charge camped at the site. On the day vehicles began to assemble as early as 5.30 in the morning and the first contestants set off on the course at 7.00.
 
Directions to the site were released a couple of days before the event. It was about 50km from Leopards Hill Polo Cross Club in Lusaka East. Last minute preparations included road-levelling using a JCB. Those who couldn’t face the gravel roads were offered helicopter travel with Skytrails. The cash bar and a full catering service provided welcome refreshment in the sweltering heat.

Supporting the local community

The venue entry fee of K50 per vehicle was donated to the local community who hosted the event. And Game Rangers International found time to teach the community about conservation.

A few rules

The Elephant Charge is a test of technique and not speed. A speed limit of 40km/hour was enforced for all vehicles on and around the course. Vehicles can be manhandled across the terrain by any means devised by the crew's ingenuity, except that no outside assistance is permitted.


The Gauntlet

Three of the checkpoints on the course comprised ‘the Gauntlet’. The Gauntlet is the most technically-challenging part of the course. The teams have to complete all of the three Gauntlet check points at once. The distance covered in the Gauntlet is always multiplied by three and added to each team's total distance in the race. Every meter counts and teams have to ensure they plot the best route through this section.

In order to finish, each Elephant Charge team vehicle has to visit every checkpoint and then return to their starting checkpoint, making a complete circuit. The winning team is the one who completes the course in the shortest distance.
  Who needs a beach holiday?!

Who needs a beach holiday?!

Autoworld sponsored trophies

Besides Autoworld having an official team in the Elephant Charge 4x4 Challenge, there are two prizes sponsored by Autoworld.

  1. The Autoworld/TJM Treasure Hunt trophy
    Jointly sponsored by Autoworld and TJM Australia (specialists in 4x4 equipment and accessories.) Each time a team passes a checkpoint they are given a ‘part of a waypoint’ (a piece of a puzzle). Once the teams complete their course and return to their starting check point, they receive the full waypoint details of where the treasure lays. The first team that reached this waypoint and found the Autoworld/TJM labelled peg won a 9,500LB winch! This year the Autoworld / TJM Treasure Hunt trophy was won by the Camel. 
  2. The Autoworld Totally Shafted Trophy
    This is awarded to the team that has the most mechanical problems on their vehicle. This year all the engine and gearbox trouble experienced by the Sanctuary team won them the Autoworld Totally Shafted trophy!
  The Sanctuary team receive their Autoworld Totally Shafted trophy in good spirits

The Sanctuary team receive their Autoworld Totally Shafted trophy in good spirits

The Autoworld team and sponsors

I would like to give a special thank you to the “A” team (Autoworld Team) and their family members who all added team support…. Not forgetting the little team supporters too. A great thank you to Johann, Aisie, Aderlai, Frank, Pete and Andy who was our official team photographer on his motorcycle!

Team Autoworld is fortunate to have supporters from all over the world! As much as the Elephant Charge is a whole lot of action-filled fun for the whole family, we all need to remember its great purpose - wildlife conservation.

If we teach the young generation of today about the importance of wildlife and conserving it, we can put a stop to declining numbers of our beautiful wildlife and forests. The Elephant Charge supports projects and programs that are specifically designed to educate young communities living in rural areas where wildlife lives. They are being taught the importance of wildlife and how they can benefit from it.
 
All this would not happen without the support of our sponsors who generously donate funds towards the Elephant Charge for the very purpose of educating the younger generation about conservation. As captain of Team Autoworld I would like to give special thanks to Mr Noble Findlay the Chairman of Autoworld who has always been a great supporter of the team! A big thank you to Aderlai Smith and Herman Mubuyu, Autoworld mechanics, who worked tirelessly to get the vehicle ready for the race.  I would also like to thank all our sponsors: 
•    Autoworld
•    TJM Australia
•    Gud Filters / Safeline brake pads
•    Hi-fase Batteries
•    Tracks 4 Africa
•    Pratley Products
•    Spanjaard

  Autoworld sponsors' branding proudly displayed on the Autoworld vehicle

Autoworld sponsors' branding proudly displayed on the Autoworld vehicle

2015 results 

After an exciting day, the contest ended at 15.00 and results were announced at 17.30.

  1. Shortest distance, Overall – the Camel at 22.764km, with Autoworld coming a very close second at 23.113km
  2. Shortest distance, Gauntlet – Khal Amazi 394m, with Autoworld again coming second at 559m
  3. Shortest net distance, Cars – Autoworld 10.984km and second Khal Amazi 19.185km
  4. Sausage Tree sponsorship overall winners – Autoworld US$24,357 and second Khal Amazi US$8,580
A fantastic weekend, beautiful location, great fun had by all, and over $61,000 raised for conservation!

Date for your diary

Thursday 19th November at the Gymkhana Club Lusaka, to see the great footage taken at this year’s charge – not to be missed.

  Autoworld wins Sausage Tree trophy and Shortest Net Distance trophy

Autoworld wins Sausage Tree trophy and Shortest Net Distance trophy

  The fabulous Wacky Racers ladies team came 6th overall. Well done!

The fabulous Wacky Racers ladies team came 6th overall. Well done!

  Autoworld team route preparation at midnight

Autoworld team route preparation at midnight

  Kids and big kids having fun in the natural swimming pool

Kids and big kids having fun in the natural swimming pool

  Congratulations to the winning team - the Camel

Congratulations to the winning team - the Camel