- While the drivers are lined up to compete and win the race, Ms Muhammad is here for other reasons.
- This had just come to her as thought and gesture to make it happen. Her family members were out rightly surprised
The busy pit stops; smell of the burning rubber; the explosive fiery-spit from the racing engine create a tense unsettling atmosphere.
The wild crowds and unrelenting sun of Masinga do not seem to help ease the scenario at all. For Mrs Muhammed however, she is here to withstand this because she has an objective to meet at the race track.
Well, motor racing has been called a cruel sport, not only because of the lives it has taken, but the permanent marks of injuries it has left on its victims.
While a lot in most occasions are bound to go well in a race, it can sometimes turn nasty. But for Mrs Almas Muhammad, the fear is something to overlook for a greater cause.
A gentle soft spoken woman, we meet her after she completes circuit in the second timetrial of the day.
“How did I do?” She asks jovially. Well besides the close corners her speed was good and it helped that she drove an impressive car.
Muhammad says that she enjoys seating in her Nissan GTR knowing she has her grandson to beat in male dominated competition.
Never mind that she is 72 years-old and made the choice to subscribe to 20I7 Gymkhana TT racing held in Masinga at periphery of Machakos County- an event started by her son. Her vehicle of choice- the Nissan GTR a hot blood speed vehicle with an optimum speed of 320 km/h is a beauty to look at.
Although humbled by the grey colour, the hum and curvy details on a closer look will reveal the power of the Japanese car.
“I haven’t done any modification to it,” she says juxtaposing this to the tens of modified vehicles lined up for the race.
Although the drivers are lined up with their vehicles impatiently trembling for some adrenaline, Ms Muhammad is here for other reasons.
“Well of course at the end I want to know whom I beat!” She exclaims. But for her she is here for a more passionate motive. The grandmother is here to commemorate her son who passed on in an accident.
”He loved racing, and it’s unfortunate that he got the accident,” Ms Almas recalls with visible difficulty.
She reveals that in an unfortunate turn of events the son passed on in the freak accident when his car went up on flames.
After the incident, Ms Muhammed vowed to keep up the son’s legacy and passion for the thrilling sport. “We are a small family, we would like to support him in all the ways we can.”
She discloses that she had never raced earlier in her life. “I never raced in my youth- not even in my marriage,”
This had just come to her as thought and gesture to make it happen. Her family members were out rightly surprised when she revealed her intent to participate in the race.
“I did not even train for this," She points out, “I just came from the kitchen to the track!”
Speaking to women, she said that that times had changed and women should participate more in the sport. “If you have a car, you don’t have to modify it, just be there!” She encourages.
She adds that was rejuvenated when her daughter-in-law participated in the previous edition of the competition.
George Bett, who emerged second in the competition with his Subaru STI said he was inspired by what Ms Muhammad was doing. “I respect what she does for women,” he said.
The race attracted another female contestant from Tanzania called Neema, who was dubbed ‘Neema Sepetu’ by fans. She drove a hyped Subaru Imprezza manicured with baby pink colour and sported a baby pink t-shirt to match her auto.
“Times have changed,” Ms Muhammad remarked thoughtfully challenging more women to join the sport as it would embolden women position in unchartered territories.