Late entrant Evans Kavisi was happy to have been supported in the last minute by the Minti Motorsport Team to make his debut in the tenth edition of the East African Safari Classic Rally (EASCR).
When he got the rare chance after Minti Motorsport boss Joey Ghose pulled out, Kavisi was elated.
He thought this was the right time to show other competitors his driving skills, and even go ahead and win the rally.
But after five gruelling days in the wild, Kavisi has now realised this race is not for the fainthearted.
“This is the toughest motorsport event I have ever participated in. Now, I can understand why this competition is meant for legends,” Kavisi told The Standard.
On Day 1, his Datsun Violet GT struggled to conquer the hilly and rocky Baringo hills due to low power.
“We experienced lots of problems at the start; it was only by a miracle that we finished the three stages,” he says.
The 34-year old father of two was equally frustrated when the car took another beating the following day.
They managed to cruise through the rocky sections of ol-Kalou, Ndaragwa, Laikipia and Moguni but failed to tackle the Polei-Loldaiga stretch which ultimately broke the car axle.
“Things got a bit technical for us, we failed to complete the leg, we were able to put a new axle later in the evening and were back in action on Day 3,” says Kavisi.
Knowing that they were already out of the classification, Kavisi and his co-driver, Absalom Aswani, are now just competing for fun.
“Interestingly, the car is now on song, it is performing well and we want to keep the rhythm that way.”
Kavisi has downplayed entering the competition late, saying it had nothing to do with their performance.
“The car was already properly prepared by our sponsors, so it was us to gel with it. We had two days to test drive the car to our satisfaction before we ventured into the rally,” Aswani says.
Kavisi took up motorsport after his life was impacted by Kenya’s rally legend, Azar Anwar.
“I used to volunteer to help Anwar in his Azar Anwar Rally Academy and that’s how I learned the sport,” says Kavisi.
Kavisi and Aswani joined the restructured three car Minti Motorsport Team just two days before the flag-off after Ghose pulled out of the competition.
They linked up with legends Ian Duncan and Anthony Neilsen who are also supported by Minti.
Fortune also favoured Scott Armstong and Farhaaz Khan who also landed the beautifully prepared Datsun GT.
The last minute change saw the team pull off a huge logistical and revamp challenge ahead of the contest.
The team gave all credit to Ghose for giving them the opportunity.