Next week, Tuthill team members will start heading to Kenya for the 2019 East African Safari Classic Rally. Here’s an overview of how much effort we put into each and every Safari.
The 2019 East African Safari Classic Rally runs from November 27 to December 6. The rally route is expected to cover more than 4,000 kilometres. Tuthill Porsche is supporting ten cars on this year’s event.
In September, we shipped six 40-foot containers of cars and parts to Africa. One full container is our travelling parts store (below), which journeys between stages and is a big part of the operation to keep the cars going. It carries a huge central parts store, separate to the parts crated up in the UK and shipped specifically for each car. The parts store also carries generators, compressors, welders and other workshop equipment. We brought almost 400 Dunlop tyres into stock for the event.
We also shipped a second container with parts including mechanics toolboxes, wheels, tyres, team kit and even mineral supplements and energy bars. The container includes the cages for our Landcruiser service vehicles. The cars and service vehicles that were shipped from the UK occupied four containers.
The containers were loaded at our HQ in Wardington, Oxfordshire and shipped to Mombasa in Kenya. After clearing customs in Kenya, they will be transported to our setup and testing base just outside Mombasa, where an advance team will unload them and prepare the camp for the arrival of the rest of the team. This takes place over the course of a week to ten days. All team members are in place three days before the start of the rally, to acclimatise and also to deal with a long list of pre-event preparations.
In addition to the service vehicles we send out to Kenya, we hire a fleet of Toyota Landcruisers to service the individual cars on the event. Each rally car has a dedicated Landcruiser service truck with two dedicated mechanics. Each truck is kitted out with a prefabricated rack or cage, which carries enough parts to get a car through to the end-of-day service after a serious incident, including a full set of suspension parts, brakes and a set of wheels and tyres.
The service trucks also carry fuel and all the tools the mechanics need to service the car. A team of local mechanics travels along with us for the duration of the rally, to maintain the service trucks and keep them on the road. Other vehicles hired in Kenya include a number of management vehicles and trucks to bring our parts store and in-house tyre fitting centre along. The secondary vehicles are also used to manage additional fuel purchases.
Alongside the twenty drivers and co-drivers for the cars, Tuthill Porsche has forty-six team personnel in Kenya this year, including team members flying in from Australia and North America. As well as mechanics to service the cars, our team includes:
• Engine and gearbox technicians
• A number of “floating” mechanics who work across several cars
• Suspension technicians
• Tyre fitters
• Team medic
• Physios for car crews and team personnel
• An overall Team Manager
• Chief engineer
• Strategist/ schedule planner
• Team finance manager, overseeing day-to-day food, fuel and other purchases
• Admin to handle complex logistics of both cars and people across two countries
We are in constant contact with our UK team, who follow the event online using satellite tracking and other sources to pass on real-time rally updates. We also bring many local suppliers and contractors into the team, including:
• Local communications specialist to manage mobile phone and internet coverage
• Local guides to work with team guests and family members
• Base camp catering – caterers at our base camp keeping people fed and hydrated
• On-event catering – catering between stages to keep people going
• Several media people supplying photos and video coverage
• Landcruiser mechanics as mentioned
• Truck drivers and personnel transfer drivers, moving crews from the airport to our base
Previous events have seen us hire local bodyshops and even charter planes to move parts from base camp to the rally. We also buy large quantities of bottled water while in Kenya. We learn more about Safari every time we compete and the lessons are noted for next time.