NAIROBI, Kenya- The Rhino Charge is not about speed, in fact that is actively discouraged. Instead teamwork, purpose and precision are key to the charge and the Fat Rhinos, Team 24, are all systems go as they gear up for the 2018 edition of the monumental event.
The Fat Rhinos have immense experience having actively participated in the Rhino Charge for the last 20 years, managing to raise millions of shillings for the Rhino Ark, who’s key projects don’t just stop at the Aberdares.
New projects have been started in the Mt. Kenya region (with over 100km of the fence already completed), the Imenti forest – where they are building a one-way gate that will restrict the movement of Elephants out of the reserve with the sole purpose of preserving the species by keeping them within the environs.
The tremendous initiative spreads across to the Mau-Eburu ecosystems which comes with a five-year plan for the project and the Southern Mau, where the Ark has entered a partnership with the Dutch for a trade initiative project, making the mere involvement in the Rhino Charge all more fulfilling with the consideration that it is for more than just a good cause.
All proceeds from the annual showpiece goes to Rhino Ark, which is a charitable trust founded in 1988 to support conservation in Kenya, with the Aberdares Electric Fence Project the bedrock of their purpose.
This year, Fat Rhinos and their car 24 known as Fat Betty have entered the charge with a striking partnership with Kenya’s leading bookmakers SportPesa, with the aim of increasing their ability to show up and show out for the event slated for the first weekend of June.
The Fat Rhino’s impressive track record speaks for itself having emerged victorious in the Gauntlet in 2009 and coming in a close second in the 2015 edition of the same.
The industrious team won the Tiger Line at the 2016 Rhino Charge and in 2017 finished fifth overall, ill-fatedly missing 2nd place by a slender margin of merely 10 minutes.
“Our goal for the 2018 Rhino Charge is to have a top 3 (podium) finish, gain knowledge of car set ups and performance, driver/navigator/crew experience and to present a professional sportsmanship team,” said Fat Rhinos Team Manager, Deven Jadeja also known as ‘Fat Satan’.
They all have hard-earned code names that they go by and ‘Fat Satan’, an armchair motor sport guru is who the team relies upon to sort out and fix any arising issues other than mechanical ones and keeping of books.
After spending time with the Fat Rhino’s, one gets to see that this is more than just entering the charge to win or for the meagre aim of competition, the bonds forged by the team members is much more than just that. They share a deep connection, they are family!
Every team member has a job to do to ensure extreme cohesion before and on the course with none being more important than the other, from the team manager to the driver and right through to the runners.
The runners are tasked to keep Fat Betty and the driver on the right path by going ahead to develop the favorable route and keeping the driver in-check throughout the rocky and challenging terrain.
For the Rhinos, Keith Henrie aka ‘Fat Tiloli’, Zane Young aka ‘Fat Jane’, Kishan Bhanderi aka ‘Fat Tagine’ and Ambi Ghathaure are in charge of the running and from what I witnessed at the Car Testing, they are undoubtedly up to the task and the entire team will be vastly content having them lead the way for their car number 24.
“Excitement isn’t really the word to use but I am really looking forward to this year’s test.
“I believe our team has what it takes and no matter what challenges we may face, I know for a fact that we can pull through and overcome,” underlined Zane Young.
In the driving seat, the man who is in control of the monster Toyota Land-Cruiser is Jaspal Matharu. Just as his code name ‘Fat Rambo’ suggests, it takes an admirable amount of bravery and passion to drive through such precarious and strenuous territory in a respectable amount of time.
Just as the adage says, a strong lasting relationship starts with two people who are ready to sacrifice anything for the cause, so it has to be for ‘Fat Rambo’ and his right hand and navigator Jatinder Thethy.
Jatinder, better known by his comrades as ‘Fat Boy’ is an architect by profession. His ability to craft something magnificent out of nothing could be the main reason he acts as the Fat Rhino’s creative inspiration and is always on hand to offer the motivation that the team may need.
As expected, during preparation and on the charge day plenty of unplanned impediments may arise and luckily for the Fat Rhino’s they have Vaibhav Gandhi aka ‘Fat Sandwich’ at their beck and call should any solutions be required.
As the challenge name suggests, The Rally Raid needs a driver who is equal to the task and therein comes ‘Fat Jesus’- Gurvir Bhabra, to provide the assurance the team needs when faced with such a vigorous and weighty task.
‘Fat Jesus’ is an IT master and a procurement specialist, he gets the team whatever they need at whatever time they require it, making him just as important as the rest of the team as well all the other unmentioned members who play vital roles in ensuring its success.
The team in its entirety have expressed their excitement ahead of the 2018 Rhino Charge and the collective sense of hunger, passion and exertion they know they will need to display for a respectable finish in this year’s event.