Sunderland driver takes on rally to support elephants

ENDURANCE EVENT ... Jamie Mactavish, right, and Geoff Mayes.
ENDURANCE EVENT ... Jamie Mactavish, right, and Geoff Mayes.
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A RALLY driver is ready for one of the toughest tests of his career when he competes in a world-famous endurance event next weekend.

Jamie Mactavish, from Silksworth, Sunderland, will take part in the Safari Rally, in Kenya, between April 3 and 5.

The gas design engineer will be co-driving for Zimbabwean Geoff Mayes under the Hands Off Our Elephants banner, as they look to raise awareness of elephant poaching across Africa.

Jamie, 31, is expecting to be tested to the limit, with the event taking place in Kenya’s rainy season.

Last year, in his first attempt at the three-day marathon, he competed in September, but this time conditions will be much more difficult.

He said: “I’m a little bit more nervous than I was when I did it last year.

“It will be a lot tougher, especially as it’s in the rainy season this time. That is going to make it very difficult.

“It should be fairly warm, but it will be the rain that might cause a 
problem.

“The event is world-famous as an endurance challenge, and even to get to the end of it is quite an achievement.

“We’d really like to do that this time, as last year, towards the end of the second day, we suffered a breakdown and had to retire.”

The pair have teamed up twice in the past, including in last year’s event.

They will be competing in a supercharged Toyota, which has been rebuilt since their last race.

Jamie added: “The car has been totally rebuilt since we last competed together, and our aim is to fight for the win from the very start of the rally. A result is secondary to our main goal, which is to raise awareness across about the terrible tragedy of elephant poaching.”