The 6th Classic Safari Challenge - 2017

9 October - 5 November 2017

Safari Report - Sunday 8 October - Cape Town

Table manners

Welcome to the 6th Classic Safari Challenge, the final event of the 2017 season for the Endurance Rally Association and, what a way to finish!  In years gone by this luxury safari rally has showcased the very best of Southern and East Africa and from what we see of the route this one is definitely not going to disappoint.

Originally bought into being in 2003, this sixth edition of the Classic Safari has been devised and planned by John and Gill Cotton.

Ahead of the crews lies a clockwise drive from Cape Town to Cape Town via Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe totalling some 8,500km over 28 days.

We’re staying at the fabulous One & Only Hotel. Set on the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront and with views of Table Mountain, last night we enjoyed a welcome party with champagne, fine wines and dinner giving us a chance to catch up with old friends and the opportunity to meet a few new ones.

As with every rally, the day before the start was taken up with all manner of paperwork, practicalities and formalities and, as usual the ERA Office manager Eleonora Piccolo led the charge in the signing on department alongside Sue Vincent. Whilst, as usual Andy Inskip, Jamie Turner et al took charge of scrutineering down in the car park.

Only one minor mechanical situation was reported, that being the Alvis of Manoj and Arvi Saxena which stubbornly refused to start. Sweeps Tony Jones and Bob Harrod diagnosed a flat battery and soon had it powered up and ready to roll.

Over the rest of the day, clumps of excited crews sat with pots of rooibos and poring over the maps and route book which they’d just received. At the rally briefing, ERA Rally Director, Fred Gallagher (fresh from the Trans America recce) welcomed the crews whilst Gill Cotton and John talked them through the practicalities of the event.

Dr Delle Grimsmo gave a few useful tips pertaining to health and hygiene for the traveller whilst master mechanic, Jamie Turner outlined the role of the sweep crews for those very few crews who haven’t been with us before.

The evening was a free one allowing the crews the opportunity to sample some of the best of the many eating establishments which feature in this most cosmopolitan of world cities.

Tomorrow the flag drops at 8.01am and the adventure begins.

Syd Stelvio



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