Rift Valley 1000 Classic Rally second edition revved off yesterday morning from Nanyuki as 37 crews took to the gruelling route fight for bragging rights to the 2018 edition of the 1,528km long event, 1,011km of which are competitive.
The rally, running through Laikipia and Baringo County terrains ahead of the Parc Ferme finish at Lake Bogoria Spa Resort on Monday, brings together bigwigs both local and international including five crews from Britain and three from South Africa with veteran driver Ian Duncan the favourite to win the title.
Duncan will face stiff competition from inaugural edition winner Carl ‘Flash’ Tundo who is fresh from winning the Safari Rally, matching the winning record of the late legendary Shekhar Mehta. Interestingly, a unique crew, the Savage Rally Team, has entered the rally with the aim of raising funds and awareness on the plight of the critically endangered Kenyan Mountain Bongo antelope.
The team comprises, Jonathan Savage, navigated by Kieran Day in a Datsun 260Z;, Quentin Savage, navigated by Adam Bowen in a Datsun 180B; and, Steve Parkinson and Russel Savage in a Datsun 260Z.
Currently under breeding management and protection at the Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy (MKWC), the rare Kenyan Mountain Bongo antelope has a population of about 100 in the wild globally, way below the threshold of 250 mature individuals required to make a genetically stable population.
“We are all set for the rally which will also see our team actively step out to support ongoing Bongo conservation efforts at MKWC near Nanyuki town. The Mountain Bongo is a critically endangered antelope that deserves concerted efforts for its survival,” team leader Jonathan said.
The Kenyan Mountain Bongo’s population has declined due to unrestricted hunting, poaching, loss of habitat, illegal logging in forests, among other reasons.
With about 70 Mountain Bongo antelopes at the MKWC, species is listed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) red list of threatened species which is widely recognised as the most comprehensive, objective global approach for evaluating the conservation status of plant and animal species.