NAIROBI, Kenya January 2 – The 2012 Kenya National Rally Championship (KNRC) witnessed an average of 60 plus entries thus surpassing expectations of organizers and spectators alike.
Given the influx of state-of-the-art contraptions into the country visavis the global economic recession, the exploits in the season were amazing.
The massive entry lists on average were indeed the biggest in the entire continent but few or none of the Kenyan crews participated in the FIA African Rally Championship series which was won by Mohamed Essa from Zambia navigated by Greg Stead of Zimbabwe.
In 2005 Kenya had an average of 35 entries while the Tanzanian NRC’s had just 16 in 2012.
But as the 2012 Kenyan Rally Champing Carl Tundo would put it, the KNRC was much more competitive than the ARC.
The KCB Safari Rally, a round of the ARC, had a total of 83 entries while the season closing Guru Nanak Rally enlisted a record 79 cars.
This went down as the highest ever recorded on African soil even surpassing the Rally of South Africa. While Kenyan events dominated entries, Ugandan rallies drew the largest crowds.
The spectator turnout at the Lubiri spectator stage in Kampala at this year’s Pearl of Africa Uganda Rally was amazing-with some 30 spectators in attendance.
ALL LADIES CREWS
The year 2012 had perhaps the biggest turnout of all ladies teams in the history of the sport. The “Haraka Mamas” comprising Joan Nesbitt and Tamara K. Jones, “Warembo Bila Make up” of Stella Macharia and Hellen Shiri, the “Rally Queens” with Samira Khan and Chantal Young as well as “Ladies Luck” of Michelle Van Tongeren and Safina Syed Khan captivated the season.
Ladies Luck romped back from a six year sabbatical to clinch the coveted “Coupe Des Dames” (for the most meritorious ladies crew) besides finishing third overall in the supplementary class of the Safari Rally.
Carl Tundo and his sister Tash Di Cangio became the first ever brother-and-sister crew to win a rally on Kenyan soil and they did it here in bravado during the 2012 Guru Nanak Rally which made Tash the first ever woman navigator to win a round of the KNRC since Sylvia King trailed the blaze on the same event in 1984.
Female navigators Bella Erskine and Chantal young were impressive. Bella finished second overall in Mombasa Rally, won the SPV Class in Safari and eventually the SPV championship.
Eventual 2012 Kenya Champion Carl “Flash” Tundo and his Dalbit Petroleum teammate Alastair Cavenagh literally took the KNRC Division 1 category by storm winning 7 out of 8 rallies in the prestigious KNRC whose accolade is the most coveted in the motorsports calendar.
On many occasions, the duo would sweep the ground with all and sundry winning the highest number of competitive stages.
Legendary driver Ian Duncan claimed the Kisumu Rally scalp when Tundo and Alastair kissed the lakeside tour goodbye.
But Duncan, the six times Kenyan champion and WRC Safari Rally winner in 1994 gave a good account of himself also with some stage wins to shout home about.
For Cavenagh, winning his maiden Mombasa Rally accolade after 15 years of trying was a feat to remember.
Tundo won 6 out of 8 rallies and didn’t just achieve his career 3rd KNRC title in bravado, but won the Safari Rally (Kenya’s round of the continental series) for the fourth time.
Tundo emerged the victor of the season-opening Nyeri tour, Nakuru Rally, Safari Rally, Nanyuki Rally, Eldoret and the season closing Guru Nanak Rally.
His fifth win of the season in Eldoret was what confirmed his KNRC hat trick, and by extension, a rare 3rd victory in the Western Kenya Motor Club (WKMC) -organized round.
The 2012 motorsports season culminated on December 9 with Kenya losing the FIM Central Africa Motocross Challenge title to Ugandans. Kenyans dominated individual races but Ugandans claimed the “battle for Migingo” what with the numbers they fielded in two of the three races staged in Kampala.
Shazar Anwar, son of three times former Kenya Rally Champion (Azar Anwar) was impressive. He, won the cross-country Rally Raid’s quad class for the fifth year running but maintained that his best is yet to come.
Bush Pilot Kyle Lucas (who started racing in 2011) stunned all and sundry when he claimed the Autocross championship. Surprises in the 2012 didn’t just end there.
It was an amazing feat for the 13 year old St Austins Academy student Tejas Hirani who won the buggy class of the National Cross Country Raid with his “Magi-Bug” navigated by Riyaz Ismail.
Tejas and Eugene Maina (16) were the youngest competitors on buggies with the latter finishing second in the National under-24 Autocross championship behind winner Charles Mugo.
Kenya Motor Sports Federation (KMSF) organizes rallying, autocross, the cross country rally raid, Enduro and motocross.
FINAL KNRC STANDINGS:
1. Carl Tundo 525,
2. Ian Duncan 340,
3. Azar Anwar 265,
4. Baldev Chager 260,
5. A. Cavenagh 250.
2012 RALLY CHAMPIONS
CLASSIC CAR CUP: Aslam Khan (driver), Chantal Young (navigator).
2WD: Nadeem Kana (driver), James Mwangi Harrison (navigator).
S-CLASS: Jazzy Chana (driver), Ravi Chana (navigator).
KNRC DIVISION TWO: Don Smith (driver), Bob Kaugi (navigator).
KNRC DIVISION 3: Jassi Chathe (driver), Gugu Panesar (navigator).
SPV: Peter Horsey (driver), Bella Erskine (navigator).