Voice of Sport

All set for Machakos Rally but organisers say safety measures are key

Sponsors Kenya Commercial bank praise people of Machakos County as “leading light and example of how counties should work on development.”


SAFETY will be top of the agenda in staging the Machakos Rally on Sunday.

On Tuesday, the chairman of the Safety and Medical Commission at Kenya National Rally Championship [KNRC], Julius Ngigi, urged spectators for the second round of the national series  to adhere to the stringent measures in place to avoid a recurrence of the chaotic Malindi Rally last month.

“We had a meeting last Monday about the incidents in Malindi. We are working together with Kenya Motor Sports Club [KMSC], host of the Machakos Rally, to ensure we don’t have similar problems.

“Norris Ong’alo has been appointed the safety officer and he has been on the ground to establish safety points and spectator areas,” Ngigi added.

Local community

“KMSC has particularly worked hard and they have gone to sensitise the public and the local community on safety rules.

“Unfortunately it is not the local community that is the problem. They are quiet obedient and observant. The notorious safety issues come from visiting spectators who mostly travel from Nairobi and elsewhere,” Ngigi said.

“Most have no interest in rallying. They just want to go, have fun and end up driving against rally traffic. Many of them think they know too much about rallying. I would encourage them to, instead, join the sport and don’t go endangering other people’s lives.”

In a bid to curtail spectator vehicle  traffic on rally routes, organisers will not allow spectators to drive into the rally sections on the  ‘park and walk’ system, where vehicles will be left at designated spots and  occupants walking to the competition stages.

Car invasion

After serving up a Kenyan Premier League football feast last weekend, Machakos Town will come alive once again when potent rally cars invade for the Kenya Commercial Bank [KCB] Machakos Rally.

Machakos environs last experienced rallying in 2006 when veterans Ian Duncan and Amaar Slatch won the Guru Nanak Rally.

This time, in the KMSC round of the KNRC [second in the series this season] some 40 drivers have so far confirmed participation including the return of veteran rally driver Azar Anwar, 59,  who had taken a break at the start of the season. He will be navigated by Julius Ngigi.

The three-time KNRC champion Anwar will be entering his trusted ex-Alastair Cavenagh EVO8 he last took out to last year’s KCB Guru Nanak Rally, then navigated by Absalom Awani.

Thrilling section

Clerk-of-course for the Machakos Rally, Jimmy Kahumbura, also announced that a “power drive” section has been included in the rally.

“This nine kilometre sprint will run from Wote to the flying finish at Konza where a designated spectator stage will be located,” he said. The event that will be a total distance of 423km, 173km of it being competitive.

The drivers will cover various sections within the Machakos County including Ulu, Konza Plains and Wote.

Anne Mwirigi, Marketing and Communications director at KCB outlined said: “We [KCB] recently won the Bank of the Year Africa and Bank of the Year, Kenya awards and it was only in order to name this rally in Machakos the KCB Bank of the Year Machakos Rally.

Development conscious Machakos

“There is a lot of excitement, after not being there [Machakos] for the last eight years. They [people of Machakos County] have been doing many great things and they are what we want all counties to be doing.”

“So, if KCB is to excel in something then we want to attach ourselves to a County that is excelling and Machakos has done a brilliant job of standing out amongst all the counties for making real efforts to develop itself.”

PROGRAMME:

Saturday February 1, 6:00am – 5:00pm: Scrutineering at Kenya Motor Sports Club, Nairobi South “C” – cars will then be driven to the adjacent Boma Hotel for the overnight “Perc Ferme”.

Sunday February 2: Cars depart Boma Hotel in a convoy, straight to Machakos Town where they will be flagged off by Machakos County Governor Dr Alfred Mutua, outside KCB Machakos branch from 7.00am onwards.

The Service Park:  Situated at Tumaini Secondary School along Ulu Road and will be visited four times on the race-day.

Ceremonial finish: At the Boma Hotel for the traditional over the ramp finish to be followed by

Prize-giving:  Same venue, Ball Room from 7.30 pm onwards.