NAIROBI, Kenya – February 15, 2022 – American couple, New Jersey-based Kim and Mitch McCullough, are running their 1972 Porsche 911 in the legendary East African Safari Classic Rally to raise money for wildlife organisations in Kenya after the collapse of tourism due to Covid which devastated donations for conservation efforts.
The nine-day rally ( Feb 15 2022 ) is halfway today through the nearly 5000km route through Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania.
The origins of the Safari Rally, hugely popular among Kenyans and worldwide off-road competitors, date back to 1953. Now restricted to cars manufactured before 1985, “the world’s toughest classic rally,” as its organizers are calling it, is celebrating its 10th year as an event for classic cars.
According to Mitch McCullough, who has spent his lifetime dreaming of the chance to compete in the gruelling endurance event, he and his wife Kim created their own “Rally for Tusk” campaign to generate awareness and, more important, donations, which will be matched by the McCullough’s through their donation page at https://support.tusk.org/campaigns?id=Rally-for-Tusk
He explained: “We want to support local conservation efforts through Tusk’s mission which has been formed to amplify the impact of conservation initiatives across Africa by supporting the most effective local organizations, investing in their in-depth knowledge and expertise.
”The conservation projects provide not only protection for Africa’s wildlife but also the livelihoods and well-being of thousands of people across the continent.”
The impact of Covid, added to the collapse in tourism and other revenue has devastated conservation efforts leading to increased poaching and habitat loss. All funds raised by the campaign will support efforts in Kenya as the country that has supported the legendary rally since its inception.
The 4185km rally route, some of it over the roughest terrain imaginable, has unpaved special stages totalling 1930km so the event is gruelling and demands complete concentration by driver and co-driver for long hours.
The McCulloughs are in a 1972 Porsche 911 prepared by UK-based Tuthill Porsche, a UK-based organisation that successfully supports wildlife programmes in Africa.
Kim told The Corner through a media release: “As we motor through Kenya we want to contribute to successful conservation programmes so Kenyan wildlife will be saved for future generations. There’s a lot of great news for the animals thanks to the amazing work done by organisations supported by Tusk – Big Life Foundation, Tsavo Trust, and the Reteti Elephant Sanctuary.”
Fences between vast government-owned wildlife parks and huge private conservations have been removed to let large animals roam freely over almost boundless tracts of land.
- The Reteti Elephant Sanctuary adopts orphaned elephants then prepares them for a return to life with wild elephant herds. Reteti buys goats milk from Kenyan farmers, providing income for them. So, instead of killing the baby elephant, the farmer now calls Reteti to extract the elephant and eventually return it to the herd. And according to the McCullough’s, it’s a win for everyone.
- The Big Life Foundation is stopping unscrupulous poachers in their tracks by hiring armed Maasai rangers who patrol in 14 vehicles, two aircraft, and at 30 permanent outposts to arrest poachers.
- Tsavo Trust protects the “super tuskers,” the final gene pool of elephants whose tusks reach the ground, from poaching. Tsavo Trust oversees an area the size of Switzerland, giving these amazing elephants as well as endangered black rhinos a right to life in the wild.
“An American dollar goes a long way in Kenya but no contribution is too small,” McCullough said. The couple are matching all donations to the ‘Rally for Tusk” programme. Just $275 will buy enough goat’s milk to feed a baby elephant for three days; $215 will pay an armed anti-poaching ranger for a month.”
ABOUT THE EAST AFRICAN SAFARI CLASSIC RALLY
While the East African Safari Classic Rally origins trace back to the early 1950s, with its inaugural rally named “The Coronation Rally,” the event first gained global competitors in 1957 and became regarded by the FIA as an international motor sport. In 1960, the name changed to the East African Safari Rally, crossing borders between Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.
The event, re-invented again in 2003 as the East African Safari Classic Rally, became regional but reflected the spirit of rallying from its heyday. Today (2022), with nearly 50 entrants in classic rallying cars ranging from Porsche 911s through Ford Escorts, Datsun Violet GTs and 240/280 Z’s, as well as VW Golf, Renault and Peugeots, the rally continues to entice adventurous competitors from all over the world.