NAIROBI, May 1- The KCB Kajiado Rally was sensationally cancelled on Friday evening after heavy rains made the designated routes impassable with drivers on recce stuck in the mud for better part of the day.
Two tweets from title-sponsors Kenya Commercial Bank confirmed the rally had been chalked off to a later date as crew decried the huge costs incurred for the non-starter.
“#Update: We regret to inform you that the #KCBKajiadoRally has been cancelled owing to bad weather that has deemed roads impassable.
“We regret the inconvenience to the fans who were eagerly awaiting the rally action & a new date will be communicated later,” the sponsors wrote on their official handle, @KCBgroup at 6pm local time (+3GMT).
Earlier, organisers had pushed the third leg of the Kenya National Rally Championship (KNRC) leg by a day to Sunday and extended the recce to Saturday in a last-ditch attempt to save the rally as water-logged roads from foul weather wrecked havoc.
Clerk of the course Jim Kahumbura had said in a bulletin they were left with no option but to extend the rally due to the adverse muddy conditions that rendered some sections of the route impassable.
Organisers were on the ground for the better part of Friday trying to source alternative routes in Kipeto area after the initial Athi River roads turned to muddy bogs.
“Due to inclement weather that has rendered certain sections of the rally route difficult to access, the COC in consultation with the stewards has extended recce to end at 6pm on May 2, 2015. The main event starts on Sunday 3rd May 2015 from 7.00am onwards,” the bulletin from Kahumbura, a former KNRC chairperson said.
Leading drivers wasted little time to express their disdain with high profile withdrawals rocking organisers before the rally was eventually called off when they got stuck in the rut.
Former national champion, Carl Tundo, and the all-family crew of father Frank and Tash followed the footsteps of Alastair Cavenagh who was the first to withdraw from the third Kenya National Rally Championship (KNRC) round over foul weather.
Cavenagh castigated organisers for ignoring the heavy downpours currently hitting the country, causing massive flooding as organisers extended the rally to Sunday to cover for crew getting stuck during route recce on Friday.
“It is a shame the organisers did not take the rainy season into account when planning the route! If it rains tonight there will be no rally, a waste of everyone’s time and money.
“Some guys have mechanics and even Mark Higgins out from UK and all for what!? Were the organizers not able to foresee rain in April and plan a route on all weather roads?” he said before pulling out of the event altogether.
Imran Mughul also withdrew by press time with other top competitors mulling whether to risk the muddy roads around Athi River and Machakos comprising the route.
“Due to weather that has rendered certain sections of the rally route difficult to access, the COC in consultation with the steward has extended recee to end at 6pm on May 2, 2015.
The main event starts on Sunday 3rd May 2015 from 7.00am onwards,” the clerk of course said in a statement.
“We are first through the 28km stage and have already been stuck. Now at the river crossing and we cannot pass in the Subaru,” another top driver Quentin Mitchel said of the chaotic day.