EarthCruiser Co-Founder/CEO Lance Gillies has entered the 2022 Budapest to Bamako Rally early next year. We will be following Lance and his mate, Howard, over the course of this rally in future posts. We started with getting Lance to answer a few questions from why he choose to enter, how he has prepared so far, to how he picked his rally mate. Read on for the full details..
What made you interested in completing the 2022 Budapest to Bamako Rally?
It not the “rally” that interests me, it’s the journey from deciding if this is a good idea to the completion of the event and everything in between. Organised events like this bring people like us together, we are all tribal after all.
Have you done this one before?
Michelle and I entered in our EarthCruiser EXP (known as Alpha) and had an absolute ball, made friends for life and had a shower and hot meal every day, not everyone can say that. Being able to travel comfortably through ancient towns and streets, park anywhere a LandCruiser could and anywhere Landcruiser could in the indescribable Sahara is not easily forgotten .
How did you choose your rally mate, Howard Snell?
Howard is somewhat of a legend in the EarthCrusier community, he has been known to get his EarthCruiser EXP in and out of places, that well, hmm, let’s just say it’s good that our build crew actually knows what they are doing. Howard and his wife Heidi lived and worked for many years in South America on a sail boat. I think Heide has instilled much wisdom into Howard about self-sufficiency, determination and not to life to seriously. And he can really read a map.
What goes into preparation for this type of event?
First things first, “Michelle is it ok if I do this?” – Yes or No – the rest is easy.
Get the truck ready (GQ Nissan Patrol – TD42 Diesel -) I have a golden rule – only service the truck with the stuff / tools you are going to take. It’s an older vehicle, so yes anything that may that might cause grief is pulled apart and inspected and brought up to spec – with the tools we carry – in the car park of EarthCruiser HQ, not in the comfy work shop, true story. I need to know that we understand our limitations, it makes for much better decision making under pressure.
We complete and empty the vehicle, go through the check list of spares – food – etc. I believe packing the vehicle with those who are travelling is very important, it’s not a guided tour. You work together, so best to understand what one has to work with.
How do you plan on navigating through the dynamic international travel circumstances surrounding COVID?
The whole thing could be called off at a moment’s notice, bit like life really. We don’t have much control, so as always we will just roll with it. We are guests in another country, so what they say goes.
Best practical tip for anyone thinking of doing an overland adventure rally?
Research , research , research. Match the team and the equipment with the event. The event is not going to change for you.