The Long Way Down.... Against the Clock

What They Said

“What a great event, very many thanks to all of you in the office for making it happen. I loved it all and would do it again tomorrow if I could.” – John Bayliss.

“It was a privilege just to take part in such an historic event. The fact we won it is still sinking in” – Steve Blunt, 1st Overall

“…a truly great event, tougher than the 2010 Peking to Paris being more competitive over more arduous routes on tighter schedules.  Phillip, thank you for pulling off such a memorable event, and sharing your expertise with a couple of “rally duffers” We will never forget the frisson of anticipation preceding a time trial and will treasure the camaraderie developed with fellow competitors and the organizational team members.” – Lloyd and Treacy Reddington.

“Thanks to all of the team: a superb outing and I'm proud to have been part of it.” – Rob Henchoz

“With regards to the Endurance Rally team, we were very impressed with the overall professionalism, good humour of the team and organisation. We would like to congratulate you for having pulled this off. Most of us can probably not realise the amount of work and planning that has gone into organising this rally.” – Patrick & Christine Sommer.

“The excitement and the apprehension was fever pitch as we made our way to Westminster for the official start. The journey of life time had just begun. Four hours later we were stuck in a Kent hedge. Our dream was over. It is a cruel sport but despite our premature exit I was glad to be very small part of it. My eyes were opened to long-distance rallying and I want more!” – Chris Butcher

“Just a quick line to say congratulations.  You appeared to have put on an excellent event over the last few weeks and I have enjoyed every moment reading the reports and looking at the pictures.  I now think I missed a pretty well unrepeatable opportunity!! Well done” – Peter Robinson

“Congratulations to the whole team on pulling off the organisation and logistics of such a complicated event. From the competitor perspective (given where we were) it felt remarkably hassle free, thank you” – Richard Phillipson

“Just a short email to thank you and all your team for a life changing experience. The rally was harder than anything we had expected but all the more rewarding. It is a real credit to you all that such a complex and demanding event can be organised in an extremely professional fashion by such a small group of dedicated individuals. Please pass our grateful thanks to all involved and sincere  thanks to you. P.S. I am sure you will be pleased to hear that we raised over £10,000 for Water Aid.” – Rod Taylor & Ian Morgan

“Dear Heidi, Everyone at Retro-Speed magazine would like to say well done to yourself, Philip, and the organising team behind the London to Cape Town Rally. Also the results service and images were fantastic, in all a great adventure and well worth all the pressure.” – Peter Baker, Retro-Speed Editor-in-Chief.

“Hi Team, Just wanted to say what great reporting on the Cape Town Rally We've been following it avidly since the start, willing some of the cars on, and now, reading the finish page, was almost moving, and we're not even there! Bet the atmosphere was great.” – Sheila Wright (Trans-Am competitor).

“Thanks for the information, also congratulations for the superb reports and results service from the London to Cape Town. This has been riveting stuff and is the next best thing to actually being there. Lots of heroic deeds and great exploits. It is the standard by which all events and reporting will be judged in the future. Many thanks.” - Ron Palmer

“Can I say a very big thank you to, and express my admiration for, the behind the scenes team in support of the above? I am following the rally from the beginning in support of my neighbour who is a participant.  I am not a petrol head, so what I did not expect was to be thoroughly involved in it from the perspective of the web site; it is utterly gripping, and the professionalism of the web team in producing such an involving and feature packed site is to be applauded.  Syd's reports are informative and amusing.  Yellow Brick is a delight and when combined with Google earth it gives a view through the windscreen as it were. Well done everybody.” – Harry Whorwood

"…amazing place, Namibia. When you have driven hour after hour and not seen a soul, you come to realise nobody lives here." - Owen Turner, MG ZR

"I planned to drive back up through Africa …but the bloody differential broke turning into the Cape Town hotel car park." - Max Stephenson, Vintage Vauxhall.

"My car is the cheapest on the rally …£3,000 from eBay," - Steve Blunt, 1st overall.

"We beat most of the Toyotas - that's British engineering for you," - David Tomlin, Land Rover

"When I put my entry in all the front pages showed Egypt in flames …I knew this event simply had to happen …it's been truly amazing." - Andy Actman, Toyota Hilux, 2nd overall.

"It's hard trying to get a month off work, and a month away from the family …yes, a bit selfish, but life is short." - Steve Blunt, Subaru

"Everyone wants to go back to Ethiopia …nobody will ever forget the sight and sounds of the thousands who stood by the roadside in those villages to cheer us on our way." - Eric Claeys, Toyota 73

"The hardest thing we have ever done in our lives. Gutwrenchingly hard. But truly amazing." - Matt Fowle, MG ZR

"when I broke down terminally on the Peking to Paris, I was 1,500 kilometres from the finish. When I broke down the other day, it was again the end for us. We were exactly 1,500 kilometres from Cape Town." - Jeff Robinson, Mercedes 280E

"…yes, when you are stranded by the roadside with a broken front hub, and everyone is now in the next country, you know what disappointment and real loneliness feels like, only one way out if that …get going and play catch-up." - Mike Dawson, Ford Escort, winner of the True Grit trophy

"Andy Actman stopped in Egypt to tow us out of the sand… pretty decent of him really, when you consider he would be collecting the winners trophy tonight if only he had just driven on past." - Owen Turner, MG ZR

News Briefs

Cape Town - Champagne finish

Steve Blunt and Bob Duck, Subaru Impreza, are declared winners of the London to Cape Town World Cup Rally. Follow the menu link to find all the results and award winners at the Cape Town finish.

We finally see the silhouette of Table Mountain… After 29 days and 14 countries we have reached Cape Town >> Read more ...

Day 28 - snippets

After nearly a month on the road the lead is being fought down to the wire. Andy Actman has Steve Blunt's Subaru breathing down his neck with a tiny margin if 1 minute 16 seconds. He is wrestling with bent steering and one puncture could cost him his lead.

Twisty, bumpy narrow gravel tracks timed for 80 kms this morning in blistering heat promise another white-knuckle test of wits as the front runners try to clinch it. South Africa will now decide it all.

Back with the rally are Dave Gough and Richard Phillipson in their Peugeot 504. After being stranded in Rundu waiting for replacement bearings for a couple of days they left Rundu on the Caprivi Strip at midday yesterday for a marathon 14 hour 1430kms drive to reach Ai-Ais at 2.30 this morning.

Day 27 - snippets

Maestro girls Jane and Gill were delayed for about 10 minutes after sliding off the road on the Spreetshoogte WCS. As anticipated, the Namibian gravel has produced tyre problems for some …the Sommer VW Karmann Ghia punctured on a time trial and the Weiss and Schneiders Mercedes suffered four punctures. Owain Lloyd and Peter Scott stopped in Helmeringhausen for 3 hours with drive shaft problems on their Mercedes. The Robinson Mercedes is reported to be on a truck to Cape Town after the oil pump failed.

To cope with the high temperatures Alastair Caldwell has fitted a plastic bucket on the back of the Porsche 912 to act as an air scoop.

A number of cars took the main road in their bid to reach Cape Town. The Thistlethwayte Hiscox Datsun 240Z continued all the way to Cape Town

Day 26 - Results

At Windhoek the leading places remain unchanged. The Cauwenberge Porsche is the only crew unpenalised for the day. Andy Actman's lead over Steve Blunt is 1m 25s. Follow the menu link to find all the results detail.

Day 26 - Leopard Valley WCS

On the first WCS section today the leading 9 crews were: Joost Van Cauwenberge, Andy Actman, Steve Blunt, Grant Tromans, Mark Pickering, David Tomlin, Owain Lloyd, Owen Turner, Rod Taylor.

Day 24 - An easy day to Livingstone

Most crews relaxed by the pool this afternoon. There's more in the latest event report.

Day 23 - Results and Photo Gallery

Nearly 100 new pictures are in the photo gallery for days 20-23. Follow the menu link for the results to Lusaka. The leading cars were penalty free today.

Day 23 - On the road to Lusaka

Rally cars left the flyblown dusty shanty-town of Mpika this morning. Dossing down in little corrugated-iron sheds for a night in a compound on the edge of town called The Mazingo Hotel, we all went through a restless night as thunder and lightning heralded a two hour storm of heavy rains that drummed on the rooftops until dawn.

Some couldn't stand the racket and made a jump-start - the big six-cylinder Holden of Greg Newton fired up at 4.30 am and splashed its way through the mud-pools to the main gate. Those who can sleep through a Zambian thunder storm are now fully awakened by the big Holden, heading off to Lusaka to hunt down new front shock absorbers, the booming exhaust clearly saying goodbye to slumville

Crews face a 16 km time-trial today, just off the main road to Lusaka.  With only two minutes separating the first two cars, every second counts in the final week before Cape Town. Crews arrive at the more sumptuous Intercontinental Hotel in central Lusaka mid-afternoon.

Day 21 - snippets …

The Cauwenberge Porsche was delayed for six minutes with a wiring problem… Maestro girls Jane Edgington and Gill Cotton passed Alastair Caldwell's Porsche on the rough mountain climb… The third placed Taylor/Morgan Hilux dropped down some places after rolling…

Day 20 - snippets …

The start of today's WCS was delayed by a bus stuck in mud following overnight rains. Some crews including Owen Turner also became stuck when taking a signed diverson but managed to escape… A few cars, #4, #34, #40, #17, #38, have opted to take the main road route via Korogwe and will probably rejoin the rally at Iringa tomorrow…

Day 19 - News, Results and Pictures

The leading two cars hold their positions, Rod Taylor and Ian Morgan move up to 3rd and Joost Van Cauwenberge jumps three places to 4th even though he mistakenly relaxed on one section until Andy Actman overtook him. Follow the menu links to find today's event report, results and a new batch of photos.

Day 19 - snippets …

Among today's happenings… The Edgington/Cotton Maestro has a broken rear light after Mark Pickering's Datsun P510 caught them in dust… Second placed, Blunt, Subaru Impreza has bent front suspension after fitting longer springs yesterday that turn out to be too soft… The Unwin MG has lost second, fourth and reverse gears… Replacement MG shock absorbers finally escaped customs and where at the border to be met by Owen Turner. Owen had grafted on some Toyota units during the rest day but the MG was said to be bouncing like Zebedee this morning… The Weiss Mercedes 230E has a holed sump for the second time… Patrick Sommer, VW Karmann Ghia, reports engine problems… The Thistlethwayte Datsun stops with axle problems… The Gough Peugeot 504 has a suspected alternator failure… Andy Actman, Hilux, finished the bush-section with the battery hitting the bonnet causing electrical problems… Villagers at the Ambroseli control point had a lion in the village last night which got into two huts, nobody was eaten… the Masai were able to drive it away… The Prenosil/Kuttler Porsche caught fire while on the back of a truck… The Tuthill/Declercq Hilux has axle problems but has reached Arusha.

Day 18 - Nairobi rest day …

Safari Park Hotel rest day photos are in the photo gallery.

Day 18 - Nairobi rest day …

Today is the final rest day before Cape Town but there is little relaxation for most crews as they spend the day making repairs to help them survive the remaining 6700kms to the finish.

Day 17 - They have made it …

Ben and Mike Dawson have reached the Safari Park hotel after a non-stop 2500km catch-up drive. There's is more on the reports page.

The results to Nairobi are now on the results page.

Day 17 - from Nairobi

It's been another tough day for most as the crews reach Nairobi ahead of tomorrow's rest day. The Belcher BMW X5 has been on its side. Owen Turner has suspension problems.

Day 17 - snippets

Top 8 at the Equator checkpoint: Andy Actman, Steve Blunt, Joost Van Cauwenberge, David Tomlin, Rod Taylor, Owen Turner, Alastair Caldwell, Mark Pickering.

At 15:00 local. The leading cars on the road are now arriving in Nairobi. It looks as though Owen Turner and Matt Fowle have lost some more time today. Mike and Ben Dawson have continued through Marsabit on their remarkable catch-up drive.

Day 16 - Signals from Mars

Follow the menu links for today's event report and results

Day 16 - Dawson progress

At 22:30 local time Mike & Ben Dawson recently passed the Awasa overnight location. They are now 480kms from the Kenya border at Moyale.

Day 16 - Moyale to Marsabit snippets

Owen Turner burst all four shocks and stopped to change them. The delay dropped him down to fourth place. The Edgington/Cotton Maestro had a fuel pipe leak and a broken accelerator cable. The Aaldering's Volvo PV544 has broken axle links. The Demierre's Peugeot 504 has broken suspension 160kms into the section, a little after the Lonely Tree passage check. Alastair Caldwell, Porsche 912, has changed the shock absorbers but a top mount is broken. Paul Carter's Volvo has two failed shock absorbers, as has the MG ZR of Paul and Diane Unwin. Renger Gulliker's BMW535 has a holed sump for the second time 6kms south of Lonely Tree. Ralph Weiss and Kurt Schneiders, Mercedes 230E also has a holed sump. They are trying to fix it with local help and a fibre glass kit. The Stephenson's Vauxhall wisely made a very early start. They took things very steady and had no problems. James and Max are now drinking Tusker beers at campsite. Rachel Vestey and Suzy Harvey have also done well in the MG ZR arriving problem free.

Joost Van Cauwenberge and Jacques Castelein in the Porsche 911, completed the 250kms 'worst road in the world' in under 4 hours arriving at Marsabit by midday.

Day 16 - Catching up

At 11am Monday, local time. Excellent news this morning is that Renger Guliker and Pim 't Hart started Day 16 on their correct time after a heroic non stop drive in the BMW535i. The Dawson Escort is on the move again, well south of Bahir Dar, but still 1170kms from Moyale.

Day 15 - Catching up

At 3am Monday, local time. The Thistlethwayte/Hiscox Datsun is in Moyale waiting for the border to open. The Dawson Escort has been stationary for some time 80kms north of Bahir Dar, 1400kms from Moyale. They are running on a repaired stub axle after the hoped for replacement failed to arrive. The Guliker/Hart BMW535 is 235kms from Moyale.

Follow the menu links for Day 15 results and event report.

Day 15 - Snippets

Looking back a few days… we have received some more excellent photos from Egypt that are now in the photo gallery. And there is a small batch of pictures from days 13 & 14.

To rejoin the rally yesterday Owain Lloyd drove 1000km non-stop before Peter Scott took over for the final 300kms, reaching Awasa at 3am. The car received a full cylinder head rebuild in Gedaref but some sand found its way into the engine. The oil pump is now suspect… the car won't rev over 3,000 rpm so will be cruising from here on.

The tracker for Ben and Mike Dawson's Escort is on the move. At 19:00 local it is now on the road in Ethiopia. No further news is known at this time.

It's good to see the Guliker/Hart BMW535 on the move again. When will they catch up with the rally?

The leading cars on the road are now in Kenya at the Moyale hotel having blitzed the border in what looks like record time. Day 15 appears to have been easy for most.

The two Datsun 240Zs are in more trouble today… the Thistlethwayte & Hiscox's car boiled when the replacement electric fan packed up… The 240Z of Tromans & Russell snapped a suspension upright after hitting potholes.

Day 14 - From the end of WCS #2 - Felege Junction

The organisers have introduced a second 23kms World Cup Section today. The Tromans/Russell Datsun 240Z loses brake caliper on first WCS and finishes second test on flat tyre having limped final three kms. Looks as if 32 cars have tackled today's World Cup Sections suggesting the rest have taken the longer Tarmac road option. Paul Carter and John Bayliss lose a spotlight and dent the bullbar in a nudge with parked bus in the dust. Their Volvo has a holed exhaust. Alastair Caldwell's 912 also has a damaged exhaust. Nigel Gray with David Spurling put in their best effort so far in the Peugeot 504, reaching the end of the dirt section with no rear brakes. Big crowds of mostly women gather wherever there is a rally checkpoint. Dominic Manser, MG ZR is another with exhaust damage.

The third placed crew Guliker/Hart, BMW M535, has been stationary for several hours in Mota village between the WCS sections. We hear they have a holed sump.

Day 14 - Bahir Dar to Awasa - Ethiopia

At 9am the Lloyd/Scott Mercedes is through the Sudan border waiting to enter Ethiopia on their quest to catch the rally after replacing the engine in Gedaref. The Dawson's Escort remains where it broke watched over by armed guards while the boys wait in Gedaref for a replacement strut to arrive from the UK. Leading crews have completed today's Mota Road World Cup Section.

Day 11 - Jeddah ferry departs

The overnight ferry to Sudan left Jeddah at 22:15 local time and is expected at Suakin around 13:00 tomorrow. The reappearance of car tracker data will be the first indication that the rally has arrived. The Day 11 update is in the event reports. The notes were filed before hearing that Owain Lloyd and Peter Scott's car was towed onto the boat with a broken timing chain tensioner and Alex Thistlethwayte & David Hiscox rejoined with the Datsun 240Z.

Day 9 - Report from Safaga

There was a leader board shake up in Snake Valley today. The top six are now Andy Actman, Steve Blunt, Renger Guliker, Owen Turner, Jane Edgington, Joost Van Cauwenberge... find the story on the event reports and results pages.

Saudi Arabia time is UTC +3hrs

Leaving on a jet plane

While many crews have been coping with their first taste of driving on or being stuck in sand Alex Thistlethwayte and David Hiscox have been busy sending their Datsun 240Z on its way to Jeddah.

From their Twitter feed >> Read more ...

Turner and Fowle stuck in sand

Andy Actman stopped to give Owen Turner a tow after he became stuck in sand, but the Turner/Fowle MG ZR (along with many others) became seriously stuck further on in the Snake Valley WCS

Day 9 Dramas

Owen Turner has just reached the end of the Snake Valley WCS after over 2hrs in the section. The Cauwenberge Porsche completed the test in a fraction over the 20mins allowed. Steve Blunt took a little over 22mins, Actman just under 24mins. Many cars appear delayed in this test. More news when we have it.

The second test of the day, Sand Blast, has been cancelled.

Day 8 - Egypt

After a 5½ hour immigration process all the cars made the 360 km drive to the Red Sea passing through Cairo as darkness fell. We're not aware of any changes to the results which are now on the results page.

The Yellowbrick trackers are now set to update every 30 minutes.

A day off for a cruise

The chartered rally ferry is not due to reach Alexandria in Egypt until Sunday at around 8am local time. With the cars deep inside the ship it is unlikely that further Yellowbrick tracker updates will be visible until the cars disembark.

Into a Storm - Day 6 Report and Results

The Day 6 report and provisional results are now posted. Knowing there are storms ahead the Captain of the specially chartered Blue Star ferry has put to sea as soon as the cars were loaded. Unfortunately it seems that the Datsun 240Z of Thistlethwayte and Hiscox missed the boat by a few minutes. For those on the ferry there is a party atmosphere before what will likely be a long and stormy night.

Day 6 lunch time ...

News reaches us that the French Morgan is out after snapping the chassis yesterday, "...broken in half like barley sugar, very sad, we could have got a Morgan to Cape Town if the route had not come to Greece" said the somewhat optimistic driver who is now trying to buy the hotel managers Skoda Octavia and swap the chassis plates ...could it ever get through customs?

The Thistlethwayte/Hiscox Datsun 240Z is reported crashed after hitting ice. The crew are fine but the extent of car damage is not known.

Unconfirmed results suggest Blunt quickest on WCS#1, Rengini followed by Actman 12 seconds ahead of Turner, while Turner has taken 19 seconds back off Actman on WCS#3, New Alumino.

What lies ahead before Athens...

Day 6 is packed with action with no fewer than 6 World Cup Sections totalling over 60km's on the cards. These tough tests include a number of classic Acropolis gravel stages (such as Rengini and Loutraki) plus a tarmac hillclimb with many hairpins climbing from the coast into the mountains. With over 60km's of competition, there may be a few leaderboard changes before crews board the specially chartered ferry bound for Africa...

Day 4 Results

At Ancona Owen Turner has slightly extended his lead to little under 8 minutes. All the Cars that left Florence this morning are on the ferry to Greece except Rachel Vestey who just missed the boat after her morning excursion. Rachel and Suzy hope to catch up later. Day 4 results are on the results page.

Day 4 snippets

As the cars reach Ancona for the ferry to Greece we hear that Rachel Vestey has a damaged car after bumping a roundabout in foggy conditions. The crew are fine but the car needs attention. They hope to catch a later ferry. Fastest on todays World Cup section was Cauwenberge/Castelein-Porsche 0:32; Pickering/Boddy-Datsun 0:45; Turner/Fowle-MGZR 1:08; Caldwell/Burvill 1:28

From Beaune in the heart of Burgundy

Owen Turner and Matt Fowle maintains their lead at Beaune. Follow the menu links to find the Day Two Results and Report

Facing the Somme test

Mud like glue on the Somme timed section faced weary crews early on Monday morning as they set out across northern France. David Gough hit by engine problems last night says the gremlins are now sorted.

Owen Turner leads at Dover

Owen Turner and Matt Fowle lead Jane Edgington and Gill Cotton by 5m42s at the end of the UK route. Next up are Actman/Elcomb, Blunt/Duck, Guliker/'t Hart and Bayliss/Carter. Full details on the Results and Event Reports pages.

House of Lords send off... The Action Begins

Car 1 at the start

After leaving from the House of Lords and a brief supper halt at Wrotham the cars are now tackling the treacherous rain soaked tracks in Kent. As we wait for the first results reports the hope must be for all the crews to remember it's a very long way to Cape Town.

New Year's Day High Spirts at Brooklands

The paddock of the Brooklands Clubhouse has been packed with spectators for most of the day. "we clocked up the 2,000th ticket just before 12, " said Brooklands manager Donna Hopton. "The rallycars look amazing... I wish I was going with them!" the weather has held and the crowds are still in party spirit as friends and families join the onlookers.

See the Cars and Meet the Crews

From 10am on Sunday, New Year's Day, 44 London to Cape Town crews will assemble at the Brooklands Motor Museum for pre-rally safety checks and briefings. You can see the cars and meet the crews in the old pre-war race-bays near the Clubhouse. At 4.0pm they will be flagged away to drive to the Official London Start where they line up in the House of Lords car-park, Parliament Square. As Big Ben strikes 7.0pm they begin the long journey to Cape Town.

After a night navigation section through Kent the crews catch the 3:40am Dover to Calais ferry on the longest non-stop section of the marathon… next stop is Beaune. Their route takes in three Continents, and 14 countries, covering 14,000 kilometres

Newbury Rally Briefing

Volvo PV544

On Friday, Dec 30, over 20 crews attended a briefing session at the Newbury Hilton Hotel for a navigation seminar, GPS introduction and navigation run >> Read more ...

The Book and The Film

If you followed the adventures of the London to Cape Town World Cup Rally, and would like to know when the official book of the event, and the film, will be available, we can send you an email as soon as we have the publishing dates. Send us an email saying “please keep me posted” and we will keep you briefed, to

Event Reports and Results

Follow the menu links to look back at the full story of this remarkable event.

About the Event

With over two years in the planning the London to Cape Town Rally may be the last great intercontinental marathon rally – a drive against the clock from London to the foot of Africa >> Read more ...

Fund Raising

The London to Cape Town Rally is raising funds to help many communities along the route. Water Aid is reaching the world's poorest with safe water and sanitation, and African Revival is working to provide teachers and equipment in village schools >> Read more ...


Some other Endurance Rally Association events ERA events rally plates