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Let’s raid the rally

Why this car?

It’s a factory-built car by Lexus in the US to compete in the Baja 1,000 and Baja 500 events. I got it to compete in the Rally Raid and what convinced me was the fact that it had won two Baja events. It was run by Joe Bacal, a famous race driver inspired into racing after facing his own mortality when he faced and beat cancer.

Both the Baja 1,000 and 500 races are extremely hard on vehicles as they involve 1,609 kilometres and 804 kilometres of non-stop driving respectively in the harshest conditions in the Nevada Desert in United States. Winning both races is no mean feat and I was convinced that the LX570 was a perfect fit to take on the Rally Raid.

What do you love about it?

I love its sheer monstrosity. The suspension has 22 inches of travel and you can drive through torturous terrain without feeling it. It’s also very tough and powerful and in a word perfect for the roads we have in Kenya. I’ve had both good and forgettable moments with it.

One of the latter was when we were going for the Eldoret Rally and the car flipped from its carrier. We managed to get it fixed up overnight, but unfortunately in the race the wheels got so hot that the nuts melted onto the studs and we couldn’t get the tyres off to change a puncture.

Thankfully, we got redemption shortly after in the Machakos Rally where I won the special car class outright. So, I’ve had some great experiences with the car.

Any drawbacks?

It’s a huge car and manipulating and manoeuvring tight corners is a task. You really have to throw it into a corner and use the bodyweight of the car. As a driver, you’re really sceptical when you have to do that because it’s huge and riding so high.

So, at the back of your mind, you’re thinking that you might tip it over. It’s not really the best for tight ‘Mickey Mouse’ type of events, but rather longer endurance type events.

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