New to the Rhino Charge this year is the Pink Horns, an all-female team. We talk to two of their members – Glena Jiwani and Nili Dodhia – about how they go about preparing for the race of their lives.
What will be your respective roles?
Nili: I’ll be one of two running in front of the car about a kilometre ahead, and scouting the terrain. For instance, do we go left or right? We run in different directions to see which is the best terrain for the car. We want to avoid punctures. We don’t want to go through a river that’s super deep. We need to be able to say, “It’s a no-go zone.”
Glena: I’m the driver. I’ve been taking part in mini 4×4 challenges for nearly eight years now. The driver has to make the final decision. We don’t want to exert the car so much that we can’t fix it.
Nili: Everyone is telling her what to do, but she’s patient and goes with her gut. When you’re in a situation where you’re about to tilt over, she’s so calm. That’s the key thing for a driver.
How do you train?
Glena: The guys we train with [including Glena’s husband] have done the Rhino Charge before. They train us in winching, the mechanics of the car, what the car can do, changing tyres in the bush and the heat. My husband and friends say: do take the shortest route, but also the wisest and safest route.
Tell us about the car
Glena: It used to be a short-wheel base Land Cruiser. It’s my husband’s car, built by Hans Kenya. It used to be yellow. He changed it into a Land Rover 90, and added Unimog axles and changed the engine to a Lexus.
What equipment will you be carrying, and will you know what to do if you break down?
Nili: Spanners, a spare tank for the differential lock, a prop shaft, spare tyre, waffle boards, and what’s that thing you tie around the tree?
Glena: The winch strap.
Nili: A jack, a spinny one, a pipe to help unlock the bolts.
Glena: We have the basics in mechanical know-how, but I think we need to up our game.
Nili: We do know when the gearbox is not working, and what we need to do. If the fan belt breaks, that’s it. We don’t have a spare, nor do we know how to change one. We know when the radiator is not working, and what to do. If we blow our gear box, then we won’t be able to continue.
Glena: Or if we break an axle.
What are your concerns going into Rhino Charge 2017?
Nili: You need to be able to run in the heat. Heat is the one thing we’re worried about.
Glena: Or something going wrong mechanically with the car, and we can’t finish. Or being bitten by a snake. A friend of mine was running [in front of a car] two years ago, and saw a leopard. What do you do?
Nili: Keep running!
What do your friends think?
Glena: They’re not taking us seriously. They say, “You girls are just going to look pretty in a big car.”
Nili: Our friends think we’re a joke. If we did win the ladies’ category [there are four female teams taking part], it would put us on the map. But even if we don’t win, but finish, that would be a challenge [in itself]. We’re Rhino Charge virgins.
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