Dr. Tibor Gonda, alumnus and lecturer of the Faculty of Business and Economics, University of Pécs (UPFBE), Zoltán Barnaki, alumnus of UPFBE, and István Szász (alumnus of the Faculty of Sciences) will represent the University of Pécs at this year's BAMAKO Rally. The competition, which is held in the name of charity, will cover 20,000 kilometers in 40 days in a Honda from Budapest to Freetown. The details were announced at a press conference on January 17 in the Senate Hall of the university.
"I am glad that the University of Pécs can support BAMAKO again. I hope the team will encounter only a few problems and I hope that they are going to reach their goal according to their plans!"
said Dr. Attila Miseta rector.
"In 2020, a UP team participated for the first time in the BAMAKO Rally: alumnus Gergely Fáth drove a red VAZ. Today, we may consider our African relations even more important now than they were then!" said Dr. István Tarrósy, director of the UP International Centre, referring, among other things, to the fact that the Africa Research Centre has been operating at the university since 2009. "The participation of the current team adds to the international visibility of the University of Pécs, which is also important because there is an increasingly fierce competition among universities for students. From this viewpoint, BAMAKO Rally is a splash of colour on the palette of the University of Pécs."
Dr. Tibor Gonda, Zoltán Barnaki and István Szász have been friends for a long time. The idea to enter the rally comes from Zoltán Barnaki. "We haven't been together crammed in a car for twenty days yet, so it's not known how much we'll still love each other by the end of the tenth day," says Dr. Tibor Gonda with a smile, but he adds: "We can be tolerant of each other, I don't worry that there will be anything out of harmony between the team members along the way." However, the lecturer of the Faculty of Business and Economics already knows in advance that he will not be present for the return journey: "I will be back in Pécs for the start of the semester. BAMAKO Rally is also important to me as a teacher, from a professional point of view, as we will be visiting places where the conditions are tailored to the needs of European tourists, but we will also reach countries where the basic conditions for tourism are not even met."
As for the vehicle, the team members are optimistic: "We are going to drive a reliable, good car for 20,000 kilometres, which should theoretically be possible. It is not entirely clear, what terrain conditions await us. In the past few days, we received a 50-60-page itinerary with the details of this journey, and it turned out that we will have to drive on dirt roads for many sections, which can cause problems in rainy weather. But this is the beauty of this Rally, it also carries risks." As for the sand, Dr. Tibor Gonda said: "We do not want to pretend that we are the tough guys, so large dunes will be avoided. Besides, only 40 cars out of the 200 in the BAMAKO race have to drive across the dunes. We received advice - the tire pressure must be set to a lower pressure, and that we should use special, perforated metal plates if we get stuck. But this rally is characterized by a very friendly atmosphere, the organizers and participants are extremely helpful: it is no coincidence that not a single car has been stuck in the desert during the past 15 years."
Based on the advice of the experienced, in addition to the 60 kilograms of aid, they are also trying to bring more things than would be enough at first glance. "We are afraid of the risk of infections, so we packed a lot of canned food, some diesel oil, and of course water," Dr. Tibor Gonda added.
The main goal of BAMAKO Rally this year is to support a boxing school for children living in the streets of Freetown and to establish Sierra Leone's first surfing school, but the racers also do charity work along the way. "The charity part of BAMAKO is well prepared by the organizers: our itinerary includes in which village with what conditions we can hand over a donation, and exactly what the locals would need. We have already discussed the possibility of building higher education relations along the route," said Dr. Tibor Gonda. He added: "It is often said that life is the best playwright. We start from the oldest Hungarian university, founded in 1367, and our first base will be in Fez, the city of the world's oldest university, founded in 800. The government of Sierra Leone also considers this race to be of high prestige, and it is already known that ministers will welcome us, but I hope that the local students who study there and those who graduated at UP will also come to greet us at the finish line. I hope that we can also contribute to the promotion of the University of Pécs in Africa thanks to this adventure tour."
The BAMAKO Rally will start on 26 January. "Of course, we will also spread the information about the journey on the UP's social media channels, so it is worth following the university's Facebook and Instagram pages," highlighted Zoltán Győrffy, director of the UP's Public Relations Centre.
You can follow the adventures of the team on their FB page as well: Dr. GBSz Team Pécs-Bamako »
Written by: Éva Harka, UnivPécs
Photos: Szabolcs Csortos, UnivPécs