By Peter Kristensen…..
Have you ever witnessed a totally cool thing and wished it was you doing it? Well, that is exactly what Kees and Jacobine Kamp from the Netherlands are doing: they recreated a 1977 CX Rally car, drove it all over West Africa in 2018–19, and now they will race in the 2022 Dakar Classic in Saudi Arabia, while raising funds for a very special school in Sénégal, West Africa.
The CX, a rally car, really?
Let’s start with the past and the impressive history of the CX. In 1977, five Citroën CX 2400’s won the first five places in the Tour Automobile du Sénégal. That was Citroen’s reengagement into competition. In every subsequent six years a Citroën CX won grueling races, including the 1981 Paris-Dakar, which were real adventures at the time as Emmanuel Wamberge says in this video showing the only surviving example of the CX rally cars from that time period. The six-time winner of the 24-hour Le Mans Jacky Ickx also competed in the 1981 Paris-Dakar, but the engine blew up and he was unable to finish.
Now, let’s join reality, the dream!
Fast forward to Kees and Jacobine Kamp’s story. In the 1990’s Kees, an electrical engineer, spent his vacations driving Peugeot 504’s from Europe, across the Sahara, and to Togo in the Gulf of Guinea where he would sell the cars. A 4,000 km journey—just for fun!
In 2010, Kees was given a 1985 CX 20 Pallas that had been sitting still for some years in a barn. After years of enjoying it locally in the Netherlands, including chauffeuring for his brother-in-law’s wedding, he wanted to do something with it. When he learned about the Dakar Rally history of the CX, and with his love for Africa, the idea was born to recreate the 1981 Citroën CX Rally car.
Kees and his wife Jacobine chose the iconic black-red-white scheme for their rally CX. That pattern came out from Citroën’s CX rally design competition in 1977 and was the creation of the just 22-year old Philippe Donati, chosen among several patterns, each beautiful on the body of the CX.
The couple’s first adventure was the 2018 Budapest-Bamako Rally that actually finished in The Gambia. About six months later, Kees and Jacobine picked up their CX in The Gambia and drove it through Mali and the Ivory Coast to Accra, Ghana, where they visited their daughter on a teaching scholarship with a primary school in Ghana. From Ghana, the route went back to The Gambia via the coast through Liberia and Sierra Leone, among other countries. After another half-year break in Holland, they went back to The Gambia to drive the car home to the Netherlands.
The detailed blog from this 2018 to 2019 adventure to Africa is an exciting read, enjoy!
The 2022 Dakar Classic in Saudi Arabia
Without hesitation, Kees and Jacobine signed up for the Dakar Classic in 2022.
They know their CX can do it, and they like adventures, so it was a no-brainer, but something was missing—like a greater purpose. A friend of theirs works in development in Sénégal, and the idea of using the rally to raise money for a community school project in the Casamance region of Sénégal emerged. The school was built a few years back and is in need of classroom upgrades to expand on the curriculum to teach youth trades like mechanics, electronics and business in addition to academics to expand opportunities for jobs and small enterprises.
The couple has already raised over €8,000 out of their €15,000 fundraising goal. You can sponsor the project for as low as €7.5 where you will get your name on the car. For €15 you will have a chance to get a souvenir from the rally or get a drive in the car (if you come to the Netherlands), while for €50, you also get access to video-blogs during the Dakar. There is also a business sponsoring program starting at €250. You can donate via their website or Facebook page.
Getting the car ready
Kees says the car does not need a whole lot of upgrades. The Douvrin engine is totally reliable, they will use the factory-installed hydropneumatic suspension of the car, as it proved effective and problem-free in their 2018–2019 raids in West Africa. Only the front grill may need changed as it was too low. The inside of the car is equipped with extra fans and navigation and safety equipment as well as a roll-cage.
As part of the preparations, Kees and Jacobine visited brothers Emanuel and Dominique Wambergue near Paris. The brothers participated several times in the Paris-Dakar in CX’s and have the only surviving CX Dakar Rally car. When bringing the CX to the boat in Marseille for transport to Saudi Arabia, Kees and Jacobine will also be meeting Patrick Lapie, who was one of the CX rally drivers in 1981.
Hold on, there is much more to this story than that!
Has anyone ever wondered how the exact same car can be a winning rally car and the ultimate executive car? Well, that is exactly what the Citroën CX is!
French Presidents Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, François Mitterrand and Jacque Chirac all used the Citroën CX as their presidential cars. Many other world leaders and celebrities each had their experience in a CX including Golda Meir, Grace Kelly, Carlos Santana, Erich Honneker and Roger Moore, among others.
There is no doubt that the elegant exterior lines designed by Robert Opron, superior comfort from Citroën’s reliable hydro-pneumatic suspension, steering and brakes, and futuristic yet timeless instrument panel “la lunule”, rated one of the 10 best ever cockpits by UK’s Top Gear, are the reasons.
Let’s keep this thing alive and help Africa!
Go ahead and contribute what you can to Kees and Jacobine’s Dakar Classic 2022 race, celebrate the undisputable success of the Citroën CX, the courage and commitment of the team, while also helping the school in Casamance, Sénégal, with their development needs through Bright Future for Children.
Donate to Kees and Jacobine’s 2022 Dakar Classic Rally and the school project in Sénégal here. Good luck to Kees and Jacobine!