Night rallying was popular in Kenya in the 80s but got defunct when authorities decided to embrace daylight racing. The night events have now become the next big thing around the coastal region with crew savoring the intensity and gusto which the events entails.
Asked what it really feels to race in the night, Yalfa Rally Team driver Ammar “Bushy” Haq described the revived trend an amazing experience to fans and participants alike given that they love the night setup which is devoid of searing daylight temperatures.
“It’s more exciting without the day time heat and we are loving it,” said Haq. Kaif Bhagha, who navigated Kamlesh Pandya of Synergy Gases Team, was all smiles. “Night rallies are all good and it’s a new experience all together for people like us who never experienced its splendUr back in the day. I can’t wait to be part and parcel of this fantastic trend next season,” said Kaif.
Mombasa Motor Club (MMC) held their second night rally in two months at the Vipingo Ridge’s Mombasa Cement Limited grounds with Piero Cannobio emerging the victor. Second overall navigated by Falgun Bhajak was Paras Pandya but Sohanjeet Singh Puee in a Team Nanak Subaru Impreza N10 came home third to seal the podium dash with Gurveer Pandhal calling his pacenotes.
Sohanjeet, who is one of the few youngsters coming through the coast production line said: “The track at Mombasa Cement is amazing and it has allowed me and my navigator Gurveer to better ourselves and learn as to which extents ouR car can reach.
The competition within the club has also been fierce which allowed us to learn greatly from far more experienced drivers such as Izhar and Piero. Overall, I would like to thank all the organisers at MMC for having put in their time and energy in organising great rallies and my family and friends for their continued and unwavering support.”
Bhagha said: “Unfortunately, we had to retire 300 metres from the start in the first loop with fuel pump issues. But the track was a mix of all..twists, straights, rough, loose, sandy. It was a challenging track especially at night.
I would like to thank Team Synergy for giving me an opportunity to navigate once again and have that confidence in me. Asante sana (thank you) Kamlesh Pandya.” Fo Haq, it has been an exciting experience.
“We did our first night event which culminated in a podium. Then followed the Nakuru Topfry Rally which despite doing on Three-wheel-drive ended up bringing us even closer to the top 10 in a national event at 12th. Today’s event was a steep learning curve in that it was a two-day which threw in varying times of day as additional spice,” said Haq. He added: “We rolled the car on the penultimate loop.
A new chapter in our book of lessons. We were caught out by a rut in a hairpin turn. It happened too fast luckily we lost little time as we ended up on our wheels. At the end of our loop, we had lost only four minutes but wouldn’t be allowed to start on safety grounds.”
Among the casualties were former coast champion Naushad Kara (Subaru) and 2012 KNRC Division Two contender Izhar Mirza who suffered electrical problems 30 minutes to the finish line. “Crankshaft sensor came loose and the car switched off,” said Mirza.