Barry Silah @obel_barry
It was one of those unique moments when one encounters in a sporting dynasty and a recent such meeting in Lukenya inside depths of rocky terrain hammers in home.
Mahesh Bhatti and son Ashish Bhatti; a family pair with a deep passion for the off-road. They participate in the annual Rhino Charge and are integral members of the team only known as Car 7.
This duo do not fear the dangers involved in the gruelling sport and have dedicated all in kind and time to deliver in races.
According to Bhatti Senior, his was always for adventure picked from his parents. “I developed this interest way back and now for 22 years I have been ever present. There is something special about the charge and for me it has become an addictive hobby,” says the road veteran who happened to be my chauffeur in his bright yellow Land Rover Defender 110 during my visit to witness his tests.
Incidentally, even despite some challenges on sponsorship front, the team has over the years done pretty well in competitions that aim to raise funds for conserving the Aberdare Ranges in Mt Kenya region courtesy of the Rhino Ark Charitable Trust.
Their best finish was in 2007 where they finished runners-up. The team first took off in their 1989 Land Rover nicknamed Shorty and that was the beginning of their success story.
“We have managed to achieve incredible success and recognition over the years. Importantly is what we are contributing to conservation efforts as a team,” adds team captain Mahesh who can count up to eight awards on their corner including in 2016 when Car 7 attained finishing a race despite the vehicle suffering severe damages.
Adding depth to the team crew of five is the young Bhatti who is known for his creativity, versatility and rough terrain expertise. In his own words, he acknowledges having learnt from the best in the frame of his Father.
“We participate every time with the gang and it is quite exciting. Personally, this journey began at the age of two years with the family when we accompanied Dad in the escapades of the wild. I naturally got interested later in life,” says Ashish who started competing actively when aged 18 years.