STIHL East Africa has announced Kshs 1.3 million sponsorship for Car number 33 belonging to Team Huzi ahead of the Rhino Charge 2023 competition set for June 3rd, 2023.
STIHL East Africa Managing Director Francois Marais said the investment is instrumental in helping Kenya’s conservation of its water towers.
“We are impressed by the work done by the Rhino Ark in conserving Kenya’s natural resources and this investment is our commitment towards protecting our nature,” Marais said.
Team Huzi has been getting very close to the top of the podium over the last few years. In 2021 the team scooped the third overall winners and third in the modified category. Car number 33 is charging in a modified Toyota Landcruiser. Last year the team won the Gauntlet, one of the highly sought after prizes, which is the shortest distance between three checkpoints. This year, the team is intent on getting down and dirty with mud caked fingers and a beast of a machine.
The team consists of Mikey and Russel Hughes, Matt Evans, Jeremy Holley, Ryan, and Ollie Outram.
“As Team 33 we are glad to be associated with STIHL East Africa as we raise funds towards fencing of our parks. We are confident that this year we will perform better than last year and will do our best to claim the ultimate prize,” said Jeremy Holley, Team Leader, Team Huzi.
The starting point for the Rhino Charge will be in Rumuruti, Laikipia County, where route notes will be issued for the location of the final venue. This year’s charge has attracted over 60 entries.
The Clerk of the Course, Don White, has indicated very wet conditions and to expect a lot of water and mud, We are confident that the team will navigate all of the challenges thrown at us and are confident of a strong finish despite the intimated difficulties. The harder the terrain the harder we work,” Holley added.
What is unique about the team is that it started with Tony Hughes (Driver) and Martin Evans (Navigator) who have passed the mantle onto their son’s Mikey Hughes (Driver) and Matt Evans (Navigator). Four of the current team have charged together for the last 12 years, giving them a wealth of experience.
“As a family run business, we are excited and proud to be sponsoring Team Huzi, who also operate the team as a family. At STIHL East Africa, conservation is key to our core business and we will continue to invest in preserving Kenya’s ecosystem through environmentally conscious initiatives,” said STIHL East Africa Regional Marketing Coordinator Pauline Ngigi.
The Rhino Charge is an annual off-road 4×4 Event, held in Kenya, with the sole purpose of raising funds to support the activities of the Rhino Ark Kenya Charitable Trust, an NGO which works towards the conservation and protection of Kenya’s mountain range ecosystems, the so-called “Water Towers”.
Rhino Ark Executive Director Christian Lambrechts welcomed the STIHL East Africa sponsorship in supporting the goal of protecting nature.
“Last year we raised Kshs 150 million, this year we are hoping to raise even more as we continue with our conservation works. To date, we have built 650km of electric fences where over 80,000 families are being protected from the dangers of human-wildlife conflicts through fencing programmes,” Lambrechts said.
The annual Rhino Charge has raised over Kshs 1.6 billion for vital projects managed by Rhino Ark, which seek to create a win-win equilibrium that balances the needs of local communities and the goal of protecting nature.
Rhino Ark’s electric fences protect critical mountain forests that are the “water towers” of Kenya. These mountain forests are vital ecosystems that support the country’s economic development and the well-being of most Kenyans.
Together, the Aberdares, Mt. Kenya and the Mau Forest —the three mountain ecosystems where Rhino Ark operates—provide yearly ecological services to Kenya worth Kshs 412 billion ($4.12 billion).