Rallying for a purpose

Geoff Mayes and Jamie Mactavish in front of their Toyota Levin 2WD

When the 62nd edition of KCB Safari Rally is flagged off by President Uhuru Kenyatta on September 12 at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre (KICC) grounds, spectator eyes will likely be drawn to the crew of a Toyota Levin 2WD.

Driven by Zimbabwean born debutant Geoff Mayes and Scotsman Jamie Mactavish, the pair will literally be rallying for fun but most importantly, a cause.

Having participated in the rally as a professional photographer and co-driver, Mayes will this time swap positions for the drivers’ seat.

His vehicle will however bear the stickers of ‘Hands off our Elephants’, a highly successful campaign which is the brainchild of Wildlife Direct and has the tacit support of Kenya’s first lady, Margaret Kenyatta.

The campaign has successfully been raising awareness of the poaching problem that has seen Kenya loose over 400 elephants and more than 60 rhinos to poachers in the last 12 months.
Geoff will be rallying to help save East Africa's beleaguered elephants from the poachers bullets Geoff will be rallying to help save East Africa’s beleaguered elephants from the poachers bullets

Geoff is not new to rallying.

In the previous two editions, he covered the event first as a professional photographer and then as a co-driver, but will now swap roles and try his luck as a driver in this world famous event.

“It has always been my dream to drive in the Safari Rally and after two failed attempts as a co-driver, I have decided to switch seats and try my luck as a driver,” he says.

It will be his fourth start as a driver, having contested three rallies in the United Kingdom (UK).

Making his international co-driving debut will be Mactavish, who was Mayes co-driver on the UK Plains Rally earlier this year.

The pair were challenging for a podium position in their class when they slid into a ditch on the penultimate stage in May this year, forcing them to retire.

The 2014 edition of the KCB Safari Rally will start from the KICC grounds on Friday morning.

The crews will face a number of timed sections in and around Nanyuki on Friday, Saturday and Sunday before a ceremonial finish at lunch time on Sunday.

In total the crews face over 800 kilometres of rallying action over the three days.

Mayes says anyone wishing to join the fight against poaching can visit http://hooe.wildlifedirect.org/ .