NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 9 – Steve Anthony has vivid memories of his Guru Nanak victory in 1991 with Philip Valentine.
The winning car was a Mazda 323 4WD Group N. Steve purchased it in late 1989 as a write off car from Mazda Rally Team Italia which was severely damaged by Belgian Gregoire de Mevius, then the World Group N rally champion who broke down and bowed out of Safari.
“Winning the Guru Nanak in 1991 was my first KNRC win and the first time a Group N won a KNRC event. My main competition was Ian Duncan and Patrick Njiru but it must be remembered they were in far superior cars both using ex works Group A Subaru Legacy cars,” he said.
We drove like crazy that night starting at nurmber 7 and were in hot pursuit of Patrick Njiru who had an accident on the section from Kajiado to Sultan Hamud.
That road was very tricky as can imagine at night travelling at speeds of around 190 to 200kph. We took the lead at about that midway point and retained it to the finish.”
Recently spotted in the Loldaigas during KCB Nanyuki Rally, Steve comes from a family line of motorsport champions. He is currently training his two sons Matis (15) and Marc (10) on how to ride fast and safely, because Motocross has been his thing from a young boy culminating in winning 5 consecutive National Championships covering 1979 – 1983 years.
“My brother Jet also was in Motocross at that time. My Dad Henry Anthony was Speedway and Road Racing Champion riding a Norton Manx 500cc until a severe crash in 1960 almost killed him just before I was born. He held the lap record for bikes for Nakuru Circuit well after that accident for 14 years until modern machines went quicker.”
Steve started riding bikes at 10 years old at home.His first competition was at Mathatani Scramble track aged 13 in 1974 on a CZ 250 made in Czechoslovakia.
“The bike was an instant success with wins on my debut. My best days in Motocross arrived during the days of Honda Kenya then known as Doughty Ltd (part of Marshalls Group), under team manager Hugh Lionnet, who was a top rally driver for Peugeot in his Safari Rally days. His guidance, together with my father, gave us a very successful team on Honda. Myself and Ian (Duncan) were at Saint Mary’s School Nairobi in the 1970’s.
There were other Motocross competitors like Rob Carr Hartley, The Nesbitt family, The Kibaki family David and Tony, The Kinyua brothers Peter and George.
We were all in school together with President Uhuru Kenyatta whom I used to play Rugby with at that time.”
Steve also drove on the WRC Safari in 1990 for the Japanese Daihatsu Rally Team in a very underpowered normally aspirated Daihatsu Charade.
“In my debut Safari in the small Daihatsu 2WD I was in 9th position overall against the cream of the world WRC teams like Lancia, Toyota , Subaru and Mitsubishi . I finished10th overall in what was described as one of the muddiest toughest Safaris by winner Bjorn Waldergard in Toyota Celica 4wd Turbo.
In 1991 WRC Safari Rally I drove again the same small Daihatsu and finished again 10th Overall and Winning Class A1 in my 2WD Safari. Again all the top drivers and teams in the world were our competition. But lack of sponsorship stopped me from participating in more than those 2 Safaris.
I’m confident that if I’d managed to secure a powerful car in a top team, a chance to win the Safari Rally in WRC format would have been possible, but despite some incredible results with much lesser machinery, I was still not able to get a chance in competitive machinery at a shot at that prestigious title.”
“My dream is still to drive in a Safari or even Classic Rally but I’d need a very good sponsorship with decent budget.
Very appealing is the chance to drive a Porsche or similar car in an attempt to have a top result. The longer distance events of the earlier times hold fond memories of man and machine in endurance testing conditions.”
Steve began rallying in 1989 in a Datsun 120Y. His most notable result was 3rd Overall in debut season in Nyanza Kisumu Rally KNRC.
“We got a standing ovation as a newcomer finishing 3rd Overall against much more powerful machinery.
Again, it was a night rally with very tough muddy conditions where I took a lot of risks to get a podium result.
Ian Duncan won that rally in his TTE supported works Toyota Celica.
We were just a small private low budget team.”
Steve’s Guru Nanak partner Valentine is still in Kenya. He’s a farmer by trade.
“We commenced rallying together with and achieved some remarkable results together including 3rd Overall in Zimbabwe Challenge ARC rally on first attempt in a Mazda 323 4WD in 1992,”
Nyanza Rally KNRC 1989 3rd Overall in a Datsun 120 Y, Guru Nanak win Mazda 323 4wd in 199, Firestone Rally 1990 KNRC 2nd Overall in a Mazda 323 4WD.
Mombasa Rally 1991 KNRC 2nd Overall in a Mazda 323 4WD and Total Rally South Africa 92 9th Overall and Group N winner in a Mazda 323 4WD. I sat with him during the 1990 and 91 Safaris when we finished 10th on both occasions. I only changed my navigator once when Richard Leeke sat with me to finish 6th overall (first in Group N) in a Mazda 323 4WD on the Equator Rally ARC 1992.
My last Rally was Equator Rally ARC 1993 where did not finish after while in 2nd when engine blew on Mazda 323 4WD.”
Steve made a resurgence, this time partaking the National Autocross Championship in an “Attacker 1 Buggy” and went on to clinch back to back titles in 2009 and 2010 again against the series’ top drivers like Ian Duncan and Keith Henrie.
His last race in buggies was in Ganze, Kilifi in 2011 during the MMC Autocross round where he was first Overall with FTD (Fastest Tme of the Day). Competition included Peter Horsey in his Datsun Evo Moto Moto Pick up.
Today Steve works and stays healthy looking for that elusive competitive works drive.
PAST WINNERS-GURU NANAK RALLY
1973: Vic Preston Sr/Bill Parkinson (Mercedes Benz 250)
1974: NOT HELD
1975: Mike Hanson/Ian Grant (Mazda 626)
1976: Manjit Panesar/Chaani Panesar (Datsun 1600sss)
1977: NOT HELD
1978: Chris Bates/Belinda Davidson (Colt Lancer)
1979-1983: NOT HELD
1984:Ann Taith/Sylvia King (Opel Ascona 400)
1985: Vic Preston Jnr/John Lyall (Lancia 037)
1986: Ian Duncan/Ian Munro (Opel Manta 400)
1987: Ian Duncan/Ian Munro (Toyota Celica TCT)
1988: Ian Duncan/Ian Munro (Subaru Supra)
1989: Ian Duncan/Ian Munro (Toyota Celica GT4)
1990: Patrick Njiru/Dave Williamson (Subaru Legacy)
1991: Steve Anthony/Paul Valentine (Mazda 323)
1992: Sarbi Rai/Supee Soin (Toyota Celica GT4)
1993: Sarbi Rai/Supee Soin (Toyota Celica GT4)
1994: Tanveer Alam/Mo Verjee (Subaru Impreza)
1995: Ian Duncan/Dave Williamson (Toyota Celica Turbo)
1996: Rob Hellier/ Des Page Morris (Mitsubishi Galant VR4)
1997: Emmanuel Katto/Frank Gitau (Toyota Celica Turbo)
1998: Paul Bailey/Raju Sehmi (Toyota Celice Turbo)
1999: Alastair Cavenagh/ Crispin Sasson (Subaru Impreza)
2000: Ian Duncan/Salim Haji (Toyota Land Cruiser pick Up)
2001: Ian Duncan/Salim Haji (Toyota Land Cruiser pick Up)
2002: Ian Duncan/Salim Haji (Toyota Land Cruiser pick Up)
2003: Ian Duncan/Salim Haji (Toyota Land Cruiser pick Up)
2004: Baldev Chager/Farakh Yusuf (Subaru Impreza)
2005: Riyaz Kurji/Farakh Yusuf (Subaru Impreza)
2006: Ian Duncan/Amaar Slatch (Toyota Hilux pickup)
2007: Ian Duncan/Amaar Slatch (Toyota Hilux pickup)
2008: Lee Rose/Piers Daykin (Mitsubishi EVO9)
2009: Carl Tundo/Tim Jessop (Mitsubishi EVO9)
2010: Lee Rose/Piers Daykin (Mitsubishi EVO9)
2011: Carl Tundo/Tim Jessop
2012: Carl Tundo/Tash Tundo
2013: Badev Chager/Ravi Soni
2014: Ian Duncan/Amaar Slatch (Toyota Hilux Pick Up)
2015: Tapio Laukkanen (Subaru)
2016: Rajbir Rai/()
2017: Carl Tundo/Tim Jessop (Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution)
2018: Carl Tundo/Tim Jessop (Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution)
2019: Winner to be known after the October 20 event.