London to Cape Town Rally - 2011

Following a call to an emergency meeting with the UK Foreign Ministry at their London headquarters yesterday, the Endurance Rally Association, organisers of the London to Cape Town Rally were told in the strongest possible terms that it is unsafe to run the event due to a high risk of the rally being a high-profile target for terrorist activity or kidnapping.

This follows serious incidents murder, kidnap and explosions around the border crossing area the rally was due to use to cross into Niger, where initially an armed-escort had been arranged for competitors through this difficult region of Africa.

Yesterdays meeting followed on from a meeting with the Algerian Embassy, who said they now felt that in their personal opinion, the rally was unlikely to get the permit it had been expecting from the Algerian Motor Federation ? without which, nobody will get a visa!

Last June Phillip Young had gone to Algiers, met the Ministry of Sport and the Federation and got the green light that they would welcome the event. Since then, Young has been making almost weekly telephone calls, to be constantly assured that the permit would arrive. Young stated, ?This is a blow, as every other country has lined up with their official support?.

The attitude of the British Government?s Foreign Ministry has now had an immediate effect on the rally?s insurance company, who refuse to insure the event for Public and Employers liability. The knock-on effect of this is that the rally will have no cover for staff or third party injury during the event and, in addition, the competitor cover being arranged by the organisers is also impossible because the route goes through a ?red zone? against the official advice that travel in this area should be avoided.

In these circumstances, the organisers have no choice but to cancel the rally. Postponement not being an option as present indications are that the terrorist threat will only increase in this part of the world and the situation will not change for some time.

This is a huge blow to Phillip Young and his team who, as well as now facing a big financial losses, are bitterly disappointed to have to let so many people down, having spent a great deal of time and expense on personal and vehicle preparation, and were committed to participating, however - personal safety has to be paramount.

What is clear from the UK Ministry is simply, ?if you get into difficulties after ignoring our advice, don?t turn to us for any help, don?t knock on our door, even if only for a lost passport?!

Young and his team will now try and sort out refunds as quickly as possible and hope to recover the bulk of the hotel payments, doing their best to minimise competitor?s loss in keeping with the Regulations. Many competitors had built cars specifically for this event and Young will try and run something in the next 18 months to give them an opportunity to use those cars - the team has ideas and will be in touch in the near future.

28th October, 2010