The Elephant Charge is an annual off-road motorsport challenge for both cars and motorbikes. The event raises money for conservation and wildlife education. In 2015 the Elephant Charge has a total of 12 beneficiary organisations who are all active in Zambia, with each participating team having to pledge a minimum donation of K4,000. In 2015 the Elephant Charge will take place 2nd - 4th October. This year the organisers have introduced a Town Car category opening it up to first timers with a lower entry fee and separate prizes.
The competing teams will have to contend with a gruelling course through the Zambian bush. It’s a different location each year and this year’s is still secret! The winning team is the one that completes the course in the shortest distance. Each team finds their own route between the 10 checkpoints, testing the teams’ driving skills, navigation and endurance.
Autoworld has been competing in the Elephant Charge for the last 5 years. In 2014 it was finally a win for Team Autoworld, after a whole year of preparation, repairs, maintenance, testing, fixing and breaking (!) of the Autoworld rally car.
The 2013 unfinished race had left lots of tears, broken gears and broken dreams for Autoworld. But everyone was looking forward to taking up the 2014 challenge of dust, sweat and gears!
The team members for 2014 were Johann Groenewald (navigator), Aderlai Smith (short runner and winch operator), Pete Lawton (short runner), Owen Green (long runner) and Phil Green (long runner) and myself, David Findlay (driver). We had 14 other teams to compete against.
The 2014 Elephant Charge was held approx. 90 minutes south of Lusaka in an area filled with beautiful escarpments, natural streams and waterfalls. This created the most beautiful camping spot and a natural swimming pool that many took advantage of in the 40° heat! This terrain is full of the itchy stuff – buffalo beans, thorns and thickets – and these are just some of the obstacles you have to encounter during the race.
The Autoworld team has lots of supporters from all around the world, with our suppliers being some of the biggest. Sponsor money is raised by suppliers offering discounts against the monthly Autoworld purchases. This has been a very successful fund raising strategy for the last 4 years. Although we did not manage to meet every supplier’s target, we still managed to raise about USD 18,414, putting Team Autoworld in second place for “Highest Sponsorship raised”. In first place was team Khal Amazi with USD 22,895. The total sponsorship raised by all of the 15 participating teams was USD 69,993! All proceeds went to wildlife conservation and education causes.
Winning the Elephant Charge had been one of my biggest dreams. Now let’s see if we can make it a double!