The brain behind Budapest-Bamako (B2B) and the lead organizer of the rally is the well known media person Andrew G, Szabo. The ex-radioman often fantasized about participating the Paris to Dakar rally, but discovered soon, that it has in recent years become a venue for well-financed professional racers, shutting the door on the regular guy who wants to experience the thrills and adventure of a Europe-to-Africa rally. Than the man famed for his crazy ideas decided to organize a run to Africa himself.
In December 2005, 42 teams lined up for the start and the first Budapest-Bamako rally was flagged off. For the second race in 2007 104 teams signed up and all the 250 participants completed the tough track to Bamako. For the third run in 2008, 70 teams already signed up during this year's rally and the applications were closed by the end of May 2007.
The rally draws significant interest from the Hungarian and international media from the moment it has been launched. In 2007 there was a flag off in London for the numerous English, Scottish and Irish participants who joined the main contingent in Spain. On the Summer of 2007 the international Travel Channel started to broadcast the documentary film of the Budapest-Bamako in 95 countries. The 4-part series movie is still on air.
It has been called the Hungarian Dakar or the low-cost Dakar, however, it has major differences from its older brother. First of all, it's longer. The 2008 race will be 900 kilometers longer than the total length of the Dakar Rally.
On the Budapest Bamako teams participate in racing and touring categories. The competitors in the racing category must complete daily stages on time as well as solve geo-challenges. They can collect points for the stages and the challenges. The results will be scored and we will announce the winner in Bamako at the end of the race. Speed is not a deciding factor. Skill, endurance and luck are. In the touring category there are no rules, no timing, no scoring. The only thing that counts is the purpose and the challenge. The participants are allowed to choose which road they take to Bamako.
The basic principles of the rally
Budapest-Bamako is a low-cost crazy race that gives the full enjoyment of the Dakar feeling and experience for a fraction of the cost. Crossing the Sahara, driving nearly 9000 kilometers on uncertain African roads, being locked up with other persons in a car for two weeks and travelling through four seasons is no small accomplishment. There are no mechanics, no helicopter rescue teams, no catering... unlike on the Dakar, all the teams can count only on themselves, their team mates, their creativity, communication skills and endurance. Everyone recline upon their resources, they need to solve problems themselves. There's only a small medical group travelling with the rally.
The specialty of the Budapest-Bamako is, that one can enter the rally with any kind of vehicle that has a valid registration. The priciple is: anyone by anything by any means. Furthermore, B2B might be the only car race in the world where the car does not need to get to the finish - only the participants.