The Budapest-Bamako Rally is coming to Freetown, Sierra Leone

One time for adventurers, car enthusiasts and nature junkies looking to get another high in the first quarter of the year.

The world’s largest amateur rally – the Budapest-Bamako! Is giving teams more than they bargained for as they will get the opportunity to drive beauties and beasts on roads darkened by the legendary Lion Mountains of Sierra Leone where this year’s rally will be finishing.

The organization dares those who dare challenge this extreme road-scapade to sign up for the 13th edition of what is considered the low-budget Paris-Dakar with loose rules and twice the fun. This year’s is historically the longest ever amateur rally stretching about 9,000 kilometers.

An adventure ridden with hardships, difficult conditions and terrains to exhaust, yet satisfy daredevils and test the limits of even the most cheerful adrenaline junkies.
Starting on January 31st from the streets of Europe to the western rim of Africa.
Old and young engines will be fired up as brake lights will greet the streets of Budapest to Slovenia, Paris then Spain – Marrakesh and Mauritania where tired tires are going to massage the soft sands of the Sahara before going hard on the dirt roads of Senegal and challenging underlying roads that worship the beautiful hills of Kindia before changing gears as they get ready to cut the tape at the Siaka Steven’s Stadium in Freetown on the February 16th.

With pre-setup camps and garages littered throughout the route, drivers will never be too far from a doctor a mechanic or in some cases both. These camps are also where they meet other drivers to bond, make friends, eat and calculate their progress.

Categories:

Drivers are grouped into different categories, so everyone gets the most out of the rally.

  1. Racing: drivers in the racing category complete daily challenges as they race from camp to camp completing geo-challenges and record them on a daily race sheet.
  2. 4×4: no challenges, no pressure no tasks just a road book to enhance adventure, discovery and your connection with the land and its people.
  3. Spirit: These are the ones who are even allowed to enter the event for free because they bring something way valuable. If you are driving something as strange as possible, say; a firetruck, a scooter, a police car or an ambulance you might be to register for free as long as you are confident you can survive the terrain with what you have chosen to compete in.

Sierra Leoneans of a certain vintage will remember the days they got to see tired trucks and cars, the years the Paris-Dakar rally used to come here. Those sights some have treasured for a lifetime.
For those Sierra Leoneans and the younger ones who never experienced it and don’t know what it’s like, this is more than a perfect opportunity to feel the rally spirit and be awed by the adventurous boldness of the drivers and organizers of the Budapest-Bamako.

Things to know:

  • All proceeds from the rally will be donated to a cause the Budapest-Bamako will choose.
  • Cars driven to Freetown will either be donated or shipped back to Europe.
  • Car enthusiasts, sportsmen and every Sierra Leonean are encouraged to come to the national stadium on February 16th for the final showcase displaying a wide array of machines ranging from fancy cars, 4×4’s to the most bizarre hybrids. Free entry.
  • “Visit Sierra Leone” (VSL TRAVEL) Sierra Leone’s premier tourism and travel company is one of the key partners making sure everyone makes good memories from this event.

We would like to take this opportunity to send best wishes to the drivers of the various teams who set off tomorrow! May the odds be in your favor on those lonely yet beautiful roads.
Bring sunglasses and pack Advil.

See you on the other side!

For more information see: http://www.budapestbamako.org/

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About the author

Osman Dixon Kargbo is a Sierra Leonean born and raised in Freetown who writes poetry and short stories. He enjoys writing about Freetown above all else.