Loosely modeled on the world-famous, multimillion-dollar Paris-Dakar Rally, where entry fees average $27,000 per person, the Plymouth-Dakar Challenge is designed to be more accessible and more charitable than its Paris counterpart. While bearing the name Plymouth-Dakar, the challenge actually requires teams to travel several hundred miles beyond Dakar, Senegal to finish in the small West African country of The Gambia. All vehicles that complete the journey will be auctioned off and the proceeds are distributed to Gambian charities.
Conceived in 2003, the inaugural event started with 45 teams (36 finished) and raised a modest $4,000. The 2004 challenge began with 88 teams, 75 of which reached The Gambia and raised approximately $80,000. The 2005 race promises to be the best yet, with applications outnumbering available space by 3-to-1. Over 200 teams from fifteen countries are slated to depart Plymouth in four staggered departure groups. Team Pekin Boys will depart Plymouth on Boxing Day, December 26th
Team Pekin Boys has committed to raise money for the Mines Advisory Group (MAG), a Nobel Prize-winning organization that clears unexploded landmines and bombs, and The Chimpanzee Rehabilitation Trust (CRT), the longest running rehabilitation project in Africa where chimps are reintroduced into the wild.
1. Competing cars must cost less than $182 (£100 or EUR149)
2. Maximum budget for the vehicle Rally Preparation is $27 (£15 or EUR22)
3. Once the Rally is underway, there will be no form of formal assistance from the organizers in any way - Teams are ON THEIR OWN.
4. All of vehicles that make the full distance to Banjul must be handed over to the Challenge Control Group to be auctioned under controlled conditions (reported to The Gambian Government) in aid of local Gambian Charities.
5. All vehicles must be LEFT-HAND DRIVE!!
The above rule is necessary because The Gambia is a left-hand-drive country. RHD vehicles are not really welcome in The Gambia. The enormous popularity of this event has meant that we have had to introduce this ruling in order to ensure that the Challenge continues to receive the warm welcome extended by the Government and People of The Gambia. RHD cars may not be permitted entry to The Gambia or may be subject to import duties and disposal charges.
"Rules are made to be broken... (Except Rules 4 and 5)" - Julian Nowill, Plymouth-Dakar Challenge Organizer
For more information, see the Official Plymouth Dakar Challenge Website.