'Put Foot' Suzie tops 7000km

A Suzuki Grand Vitara SUV has completed 7000 gruelling Africa kilometres, mostly off the beaten track, while competing in the annual Put Foot charity rally.

Piloted by Team Half Full Four and sponsored by Suzuki Auto South Africa, the Grand Vitara took everything from pot-holed roads and desert dunes to muddy marshlands and sandy beaches in its stride.


Team captain Ron Rutland reported: “Suzie, as we dubbed our trusty Grand Vitara, completed the more than 7000km without any technical issues , despite conditions that were arduous at times.

“We really tested Suzie to the limit but she not only survived everything we threw at her but also seemed to enjoy it as much as we did! She took us to parts of the countries on our route which literally no other teams visited and allowed me to show my Kiwi team mates the absolute best that Africa has to offer.”

‘Put Foot’ Vitara image gallery.

The Team Half Full Foursome consisted of Rutland and the three New Zealanders: Jimmy 'Radar' Parfitt, 'Field Nurse' Kate Parfitt, and Helen 'Ostrich' Parfitt. Jimmy and Kate Parfitt are based in China, fellow Kiwi Helen works and lives in London.


The quartet and their trusty Suzuki made up one of 60 teams participating in the 17-day Put Foot Rally – a charity event organised by the Put Foot Foundation which provides African schoolchildren with brand new, South African-made leather school shoes – and the hope, pride and dignity those shoes represent.


Collectively, the participating teams raised R600 000 for the foundation. This year a portion of the funds was donated to Project Rhino, an initiative combating rhino poaching in Southern Africa.


The rally started in South Africa and went through Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Malawi before ending on the Mozambican coast. The teams were able to choose their own route between compulsory checkpoint parties in each country.


Rutland says the shoe drop in Zambia was a particular highlight: “I believe it would have changed the lives and perspectives of the rally participants just as much as it did the lives of the learners who received those much-needed shoes.


“I’d like to thank Suzuki Auto SA for its generous sponsorship," he added. "We’re over the moon that we were able to showcase the impressive capabilities of our Grand Vitara over such varied and testing terrain."