Pomp and colour as top drivers receive memorial awards at Classic Rally dinner in Watamu

Kenyans Baldev Chager (Right) and his co-driver Drew Sturrock are joined by supporters in celebration after winning the East African Safari Rally Classic at Watamu in Kilifi County on February 19, 2022.[Omondi Onyango,Standard]

Ocean Sports Resort in Watamu was the place to be on Friday night.

Rally enthusiasts gathered at the luxury beach front destination to celebrate an intense nine days of rallying.

The cool sea breeze that rocked the packed luxury yatchs and speed boats in the blue ocean waters made the guests boisterous.

The crowd partied hard with free flowing drinks and sumptuous meals as they whiled the moon lit night away.

They reminisced on the 5000km journey of the 10th edition of East African Safari Classic Rally that started in Naivasha on February 10.

The race was full of sweat, blood, heat, mud and the scorching sun.

The journey finally ended on Friday mid-morning with Kabras Sugar Racing star Baldev Chager and his navigator Drew Sturrock clinching their maiden victory in the event.

The duo was awarded with the Shekhar Mehta Memorial trophy to commemorate the legendary driver who won the Safari a record five times.

All Shekhar Mehta wins were in a Datsun 240RS which he drove with Rob Combes in the 1984 Safari.

“We want to thank our sponsors Kabras Sugar for making this happen. We are very happy with the victory, we want to thank our families for standing with us through this challenging period to realise the victory,” Sturrock said as they received the gong.

Second-placed Patrik Sandell of Sweden went home with the Joginder Singh Memorial Award.

Fondly remembered as the ‘Flying Sikh’, Joginder won the Safari three times, twice in a Mitsubishi Colt Lancer, but the model chosen for Sandell’s award is the Volvo PV544 in which Joginder won the 1965 Safari while navigated by his brother Jaswant.

Third placed Ian Duncan received Bjorn Waldergard Memorial trophy.

Bjorn’s first win was in a Ford Escort RS1800 in 1977, but he is best remembered for the three victories achieved in a Toyota.

Bjorn entered the Safari 18 times with six different make of cars.

Kenyans Baldev Chager (right) and his co-driver Drew Sturrock celebrate after winning the East African Safari Rally Classic at Watamu in Kilifi County on February 18, 2022.[East African Classic Safari Rally]

The one chosen for Duncan’s award is the iconic Alicia Stratos which Bjorn with Hans Thorszelius won the Safari with in 1975.

Fourth-placed Lee Rose was honoured with the Vic Preston Senior Memorial Award.

Rose has since said he was retiring from the competition.

Standard Group PLC was one of the key sponsors for the Rally.

Standard Group CEO Orlando Lyomu at Watamu in Kilifi County on February 19, 2022 [Omondi Onyango,Standard

Standard Group CEO Orlando Lyomu in his closing remarks assured of continuous support for the toughest motorsport showpiece in the globe.

“The extensive coverage we gave to this rally in all our unique platforms emphasised our commitment to sports which is one of our key pillars. We believe we have done a fantastic coverage in this event.

“We look forward to continue with the partnership in the next two editions (2024 and 2026),” Orlando said.

 

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