Tragedy, beauty, rough and tumble mark EA Classic Rally

By Ernest Ndunda: Sunday, December 3rd 2017 at 00:08 GMT +3 | Sporting
KISUMU RALLY The Proton Neo Satria S2000 that that Carl "Flash" Tundo will drive in Kisumu Rally. [PHOTO:COURTESY]

Drivers took pictures at the elephant tusks, a landmark of Mombasa that used to be a starting point of the event

Tundo’s win brightened every little colour and amplified every sweet sound at the Coast.

What a beautiful day to end the nine days of racing action at the Kenya Airways East African Safari Classic Rally in Mombasa on Friday night.

For a while, the unthinkable looked real. For a while, a great day looked destined for something beyond the wildest dreams.

The picturesque environment along the roads that link Kenya and Tanzania fostered a pristine ambiance that almost robbed the rallying contest of the ruggedness it’s often associated with.

The scenery is certainly beautiful but for some it was too beautiful.

And it reached the crescendo when Kenya’s Carl ‘Flash’ Tundo and Briton Richard Jackson emerged joint winners of this year’s rally

It shaped the overall narrative and made the headlines –after a tragic start when rally director Singh Vohra died in a road accident.

Shock and heartbreaks

The beauty of sport is shaped by its cruelties; the shock and the heartbreaks. But Tundo’s win brightened every little colour, it amplified every sweet sound and it saved 2017 East African Safari Classic Rally for Kenya.

This is despite the fact that rally organisers cancelled a stage, which denied Tundo a 53-minute lead.

It was a rally to remember as it attracted rallying top guns among them the legendary Hannu Mikkola and 1984 world rally champion Stig Blomqvist of Sweden.

Blomqvist, accompanied by his new navigator Mattias Edielsson, was out for second victory at the Safari Classic Rally but gremlins set in.

“Rally has changed as it’s much more about racing. It’s not like how it was in the past when we had to fight all through many hurdles. We were using ordinary cars as opposed to the current cars that are purposely built.

"It’s nice older drivers of the 70’s and 80’s now have a chance to compete with old cars that are not expensive. This will also help to keep the memories alive and let the people continue to enjoy this type of rallying,” said Mikkola.

Despite racing, the drivers visited and took pictures at the famous elephant tusks on Moi Avenue which is not only a landmark of Mombasa but was previously a starting point of the event.

“The rally was also used to promote tourism. Every flight that landed prior to the rally had a good number of Safari Classic crews,” said Rally Manager Pipi Renu.

The KQ Safari Classic Rally, was co-sponsored by Kenya Wildlife Service, Safaricom, Copy Cat Group, Vipingo Ridge and Dodhia Packaging.

This year, the drivers donated Sh300,000 to the Sapling Trust Foundation in Nyali, Mombasa, to benefit more that 60 children and adults with special needs.