Saturday, June 4, 2011

Rhino Charge in Tugen nets record Sh77m

Photo/DENIS OKEYO  One of the cars featured at the Rhino Charge on June 3, 2011 in Yatya, Baringo.

Photo/DENIS OKEYO One of the cars featured at the Rhino Charge on June 3, 2011 in Yatya, Baringo. 

By TIM KAMUZU BANDA

Baringo

This year’s Rhino Charge - held on Saturday in the rugged Tugen Hills at Yatya in Baringo County - raised Sh77,311,364.

This beats last year’s figure of Sh72,540,232, adding five million to secure another all time record.

The winner of the event was the Mark Glen, partnered with Bryn Llewellyn, who covered a distance of 42.2 kilometres more than the straight line distance of just under 30 kilometres.

“This was an outstanding achievement considering the extremely rugged rock strewn steep hill sided course, said the competition’s clerk of the course, Anton Levitan.

The most prestigious title of Victor Ludorum – highest fund raiser and best placed by formula - was car number five of Alan McKittrick who was placed fifth overall in the event.

Of the 65 registered entrants, 58 were flagged off and 22 completed all 13 guard posts.

Two entrants were forced to withdraw as their vehicles were held up due to severe shipping delays in the Durban port of South Africa.

The exciting event lived up to all expectations for the entrants who were flagged off at 7.30am from the spread of guard posts scattered through the rugged rock strewn hills of Yatya.

In a tough contest at the gauntlet, car number 22 of Gray Cullen took the first position with a distance of 1.91 kilometres.

Modified vehicles category

Second position went to Manee Choda with car number six with a distance of 1.97km while third was Mark Glen in car number 48 with a distance of 2.04 kilometres.

The modified vehicles category was won by Mark Glen in car number 48 who covered 14 posts with a distance of 42.2 kilometres.

Torben Rune (number 28) won the unmodified category coming in ninth overall and a covering a distance of 67.3 kilometres.

The best-placed overseas entrant was Peter Castle in car number 14 with a distance of 46.6km and 20th overall in the event.

Castle’s team was awarded the Spirit of the Charge trophy for bringing their car all the way from Zambia to compete in the event.

Castle is the founder of Zambia’s Elephant Charge modelled on the Rhino Charge. Tiger Line Two was won by Sean Avery in car number 38, covering a distance of 2.5km.

The three all-ladies teams delivered strong performances with Caroline Armstrong of in car number 18 winning the Chris Nicklin Coupe des Dames award by finishing all 13 guard posts with a distance of 61.4km.

Rhino Ark Patron, Charles Njonjo, and the director of the Kenya Wildlife Service, Julius Kipng’etich, joined the MP for Baringo North, William Cheptumo, and other dignitaries for the prize giving.

The British High Commissioner to Kenya Rob Macaire was a first time entrant competing with David Bromham and Michael Turner in car number 15, a Toyota FJ 15.

Conservationists William Kimosop of Baringo and Paula Kahumbu of Wildlife Direct and the Kenya Land Conservation Trust spoke of Baringo’s successful efforts to develop conservancies in the area to create an accelerating new source of income for communities living in the arid North Rift.

Over Sh800 million raised

Kipng’etich said the Rhino Charge was “Kenya’s own world unique fund raising event. It has raised over Sh800 million for conservation over the year.”

He challenged more people and organisations to accelerate support for the new initiatives in Mt Kenya and Mau Eburu in which Rhino Ark and KWS are spearheading.

He said urgent funds are needed for the Aberdare Trust Maintenance Fund. Substantial specific support for both maintenance and new initiatives in Mt Kenya and Mau Eburu are to be announced in the budget this week.

The Rhino Charge raffle to assist the fundraiser with over 150 prizes was extremely successful. The main prize two business class tickets to Rome was drawn by car number three.

The camping fees totalling Sh2.4 million was raised from entry fees into the venue and will go to local development projects under a local committee and the Rhino Ark.

Colin Church, the chairman of the Rhino Ark Management Committee, said: “From now onwards, a major portion of the money raised by the Rhino Charge will go towards two new projects - fencing Mt Kenya and Mau Mt Eburu - one of Mau’s 22 forest blocks.”

The Mt. Kenya fence will be at least 400 kilometres long - equal or possibly longer than the now completed Aberdare fence - encircling over 2,000 square kilometres, and will require Sh1 billion to build and will be completed within five years subject to funds.

Mau Eburu will be 50 kilometres long and will cost Sh100 million, encircling about 80 square kilometres of a pristine forest, greatly endangered by illegal loggers.