Classic Rally: Exciting motorsport showpiece marks Standard Group partnership with Classic Rally

Standard Group CEO Orlando Lyomu (left) presenting a gift to EASCR Manager Sinder Sudle during the revival of a 1950 partnership with EASCR on Monday, January 17, 2022. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

Excitement was in the air as leading national broadcaster, the Standard Group PLC revived a 1950  partnership with the East African Safari Classic Rally (EASCR) in Nairobi on Monday.

The rekindling of the nostalgic memories was marked with a jaw-dropping motor show event held at the Standard Group Centre along Mombasa Road.

Rally legends and seasoned drivers performed stunts and drifts while circling the fountain at the venue, leaving the capacity crowd in awe.

Vintage cars among them a Nissan Navara, Porshe and BMW highlighted some of the actions the audience should expect in the tenth edition of the EASCR slated for February 10-18 across 11 Kenyan counties.

EASCR officials during the motor show event held at the Standard Group Centre along Mombasa Road on January 17, 2022. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

"It’s my first time in a rally car. I don't know what to expect. The closest I have been to a rally a car is a Go-Kart, but I'm equally excited," Standard Group PLC CEO Orlando Lyomu admitted before he was given a daredevil ride by ALS Head of Technical, Ben Musomba.

Musomba cruised and turned at unimaginable angles, revealing the kind of gravitational pull the 1969 Porshe can resist.

"The machine is comfortable, you don't even feel its terrific speed, " Lyomu said after the hair-raising battle.

Pipi Renu, the EASCR Logistic Manager was the first to sweep the 'route' with his Nissan Navara that acted as the Safety car.

Standard Group CEO Orlando Lyomu with ALS Head of Technical Ben Musomba in a Porche 911. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

"Car number 00 always makes sure the track is fine for all competitors," Renu explained after his breathtaking display under the scorching Nairobi overhead sun.

Then came the three-time Kenya National Rally Championships winner, Azar Anwar!

With his BMW E28-535i, the former Kenya Motorsport Personality of the year winner showed the crowd what made him a legend in the game.

He swerved, drifted and sped in cutthroat speed in the little space, finishing his stunt with wild applause from the spectators.

While explaining the importance of the partnership, Lyomu said the media house will offer a Ksh 21 million worth of coverage in the coming event.

Standard Group CEO Orlando Lyomu (left), Board Member Juliana Rotich, EASCR Manager Sinder Sudle and EASCR Event Director Tash Tundo. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

"We are the home of sports. We are rekindling the relationship that existed between 1950s and the 70s. We are returning the past glory to the people because the Classic Rally was a household name in Kenya during the Easter holidays," said Lyomu.

Charles Otieno, Head of Weeklies, Sports and Entertainment, assured the rally audience that they will be given a show worth remembering during the contest.

"As a media house, we are also into sports production. The Classic Rally is one of the disciplines that we want to develop," said Otieno.

Anwar already believes local drivers signed up for the competition will be up to the task this season.

Clerk of Course, Raju Chaggar, has already given the 5000km route, that snakes its way from Naivasha to Watamu, a clean bill of health.

"I'm just from a nine-day inspection of the roads and the stages, the route is great, the drivers should expect barriers and challenges that will make the rally lives up to its billing," Raju said.

Rally driver Azar Anwar with Standard Group Board Member Juliana Rotich on a BMW E28-535i. [Stafford Ondego, Standard]

Event Director Tash Tundo reiterated Orlando's sentiments saying they are working hard to take back the competition to the people.

"About 13 countries will be involved in this contest. As EASCR, we look forward to a better partnership with the Standard Group that will help us to showcase Kenya to the rest of the world," said Tundo.

Rally legend Sylvia King hailed the new relationship saying sponsorship is crucial for any sporting event to thrive in the current world.

Standard Group Board Member, Juliana Rotich who believes the contest will help to revisit her Easter holiday childhood memories had this wonderful quote to close the session.

"In order to win you need to know how to lose," she said.

EACSR Group 4 seeding

1. Glen Edmunds

2. Frederico Polese

3. Ramesh Vishram

4. Steve Parkinson

5. Iain Dobson

6. Rajesh Maini

7. Joey Chose