The world’s largest amateur road rally, the Budapest-Bamako will cease to be an annual event after this years run, announced the organizers earlier this week. Andrew G. Szabo, founder and director of the rally listed organizational complexities and the unpredictable political and security environment in West Africa. “It has become increasingly costly to pay for the safety and security of the participants in an increasingly volatile region. We don’t want to follow the path of the Dakar and move out of Africa.”, said the energetic founder of the 11 year old tran-Saharan car race.
The Budapest-Bamako is planning an adventure and rally series held in other parts of the world in odd years and organizing the classic Saharan rally to Bamako during even years. The new races will be held under the Bamako Adventures name. The first such event is planned for California and the Baja Peninsula of Mexico in January 2017. “We’d like to show other parts of the world and bring new adventures to our teams said”, added Mr. Szabo.
Entries for the first 2017 Bamako Adventure will open in February.
Meanwhile the 2016 Budapest-Bamako is expected to start from Budapest on January 15th. Over 350 participants registered for this year’s whacky race across North and West Africa, mostly from European countries.
This year’s rally begins with a 4 day super marathon across Europe. Teams start with a difficult night time off-road stage in Hungary and have 3 more days to get to the town of Midelt in Morocco. Rocky dirt roads and soft sandy patches will take the teams to the gates of the great desert. After completing the race across spectacular dune fields and abandoned oasis towns team will have two days to dash through the lunar landscape of Western Sahara before arriving the Mauritania.
Teams have 2000 kilometers of nerve wrecking desert driving in Mauritania before reaching the friendly red clay roads of Mali. The rally visits West Africa’s hottest town Kayes and some friendly African bush villages along the way to the capital of Mali.
The Budapest-Bamako is the largest charity rally in Africa delivering over $1,000,000 worth of direct aid to impoverished communities. Participants and organizers are furnishing medical clinics, schools and vocational institutions in Mali and Mauritania. This year in Western Sahara the rally is expected to replace 100 rusted “Danger-Land Mine” signs with the help of Austrian NGO www.landmine.at.
The rally starts from Budapest’s Lurdy Haz on Jan 15th at 2 PM and finishes at the International Congress Center in Mali on January 31st.