Gray Cullen and his partner Jon Bovard finished second overall to retain the JCB Ganatra National Rally Raid Championship title at Soysambu conservancy yesterday after leader Carl “Flash” Tundo retired with mechanical problems.
Cullen and Tundo were neck-and-neck prior to the last round but the former had his campaign effectively sewn up when the latter broke a propeller shaft after Saturday’s opening stage.
Tundo’s new raid car, a Milner R5 has swept the ground with all his opponents since its arrival in the second round in Baringo but his mechanical woes stymied his efforts for a maiden off road crown.
With Tundo’s Milner raid machine gone, former Car Class champion Adin Haq “Paps” and his partner Riyaz Ismail took the overnight lead but the demanding nature of the expansive Soysambu Conservancy terrain took toll of their Range Rover Ebowler.
Haq had a good start in yesterday’s early morning stage run and was still leading as well as being first on road. “On the start line of the second stage the propeller shaft snapped. We took it out and carried on with just rear wheel drive until the car shut itself.
We are back to the drawing board but very thankful to our sponsors, family and friends for all the support,” said Haq. Ian Duncan navigated by Kavit Dave emerged the car class winner and by extension round five overall winner.
Day One and two proceedings nevertheless proved quite unforgiving to the top contenders with bike rider Ross Field having to contend with sixth overall on the first leg before crashing out on yesterday’s run.
Ross hit some bad cattle tracks and flipped over his Huqsvana motorcycle to the front and had to be airlifted to Nairobi for specialised treatment.
Cullen savoured retaining his title incidentally in a borrowed car. “Unfortunately, our car was in pieces awaiting a new build for next season that will see a lot more power.
For this raid, we borrowed Nish Lakhani’s car to fight for the championship and it paid off,” said Cullen. The final leg of the Raid has attracted a paltry 12 entries including eight cars, one quad and two motorbikes.