Friday, 15 November 2013

The East African Classic Safari Rally - 21st to 29th November 2013

About the Rally… 
After the loss of the Safari Rally from the World Rally Championship in 2002, rally enthusiasts decided to recreate the nostalgia of "The Safari" with the East African Safari Rally. The idea was to allow classic cars originally manufactured before 1974, and to avoid the powerful turbo charged and four wheel drive cars. The stages, or sections would be longer and the service crews and back up would be limited, like the early days. 

The first East African Safari was planned and ran in December of 2003, with 53 entries it ran through Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania - over a distance of 5000 Kilometres in ten days. The event runs every two years, and such has been the success of the East African Classic Safari the entries numbers increase at each event. This year’s event has a record 63 entries, with no less than 16 different countries being represented. 
The Driver… 
Andrew Siddall, our CEO at Sidhil will be taking part in what Motoring News has called "the most exacting test for man and machine yet devised in the world of rallying." Andrew has competed in previous safari rallies; however a huge amount of physical and mental preparation has been necessary to enable him to compete on such demanding roads, in temperatures you would only welcome whilst relaxing on a beach! 
Andrew has a history in rallying, starting out some years ago in a Vauxhall Nova, and more recently having success on events such as The Silver Fern, Sol Rally Barbados, Rally Isle of Man and Omloop Van Vlaanderen (but to name a few) in his historic mk1 and mk2 Ford Escorts. 

The Car… 
The immaculate, six cylinder Datsun 260Z Andrew will be taking on the event has been newly prepared to withstand such a demanding event. The original 1972 road car was fully stripped to a bare shell, strengthened, and modified to be eligible to compete. Modifications include a full weld in roll cage, snap-off steering wheel, bucket seats, safety harnesses, and uprated mechanical components such as engine, gearbox, differential, brakes and suspension. Although the uprated suspension, gravel wheels and tyres provide a huge amount of ground clearance, the car is heavily protected underneath with sump and diff guards, and of course is fitted with mandatory safety equipment such as a master cut off switch and plumbed-in fire extinguisher system. 
Creature comforts are limited to a seat cushion, drinks bottle and a roof scoop – the roof scoop is the only form of cooling as the cars are limited in terms of equipment, power, and modifications. In short, if rally or production road cars weren’t fitted with an accessory in period, they cannot be now so as to make a more level playing field. 

Supported by Sidhil… 
The safari rally is very demanding on the cars and crew; as such rally teams typically have a chase vehicle, and a larger service vehicle to support the car at designated service intervals en route. Although this sounds ideal, it is far from the workshop environment mechanics require to repair precision components quickly - here’s is where Sidhil became involved… 
The rally cars travel to East Africa in 20ft containers, which after being unloaded would sit unused until the return journey – so why not convert the container into a purpose made workshop that could be transported around the event on the back of a lorry? 
Sam Thompson (Product Design Deputy Manager) and Scott Heaton (HQ Site and Building Maintenance) set about designing and converting a standard 20ft shipping container into a workshop in their spare time on site at Sidhil, Halifax. A design specification was finalised with Dansport, the team who prepare and maintain Andrew’s car, and a CAD model created to maximise the space for equipment. Visually the CAD model was useful in finalising the specification with Dansport, ensuring the car would fit and be able to drive up onto the top of the workbenches. The software Sidhil use to test the strength of their products ensured the work benches would be strong enough to take at least 1400kg of rally car. 

Over a period of six months a standard container was transformed to include: 
- Work benches, which also carry the rally car (comprising of over 100 metres of tube!) 
- Ramp carriers 
- Generator with custom exhaust 
- 12 volt lighting system with leisure battery (the team can work at night with no need to start the generator) 
- 230 volt lighting system 
- 230 volt hook up for external lights 
- Five water resistant double sockets 
- Tyre machine 
- Compressor and plumbed in air system 
- Tyre rack (to store 20 wheels and tyres) 
- Four storage cabinets for tools and precision equipment 
- Secure caged area and safe for high value items 
- Wall mounted cages to store mechanical components 
- Fan to move hot air out of the container 
- Hammock (everyone deserves a power nap!) 
- Non-slip floor 
- Robust set of height adjustable stairs 

We wish Andrew every success on the event.

For more information and to track Andrews journey, visit 

No comments: