The rally will feature a maximum of 60 drivers among them Kenyan Eric Bengi, 45 and his navigator, Gatimu Mindo, 47 who will be battling one of the country’s toughest terrains for the ultimate prize. Bengi participated in the 2021 WRC Safari Rally having previously rallied in Zambia.
The main East African Safari classic rally had earlier been scheduled for 1st – 9th November 2021 but was later postponed to early next year due to the prevailing COVID-19 travel restrictions which hindered many participants from jetting in to take part in the iconic rally.
EASRC Board of Directors Chairman Joey Ghose said despite the regrettable news of the postponement of the 2021 East African Safari Classic, the management will be rolling out a mini classic rally as a precursor to the ultimate 10th edition of the world’s greatest classic rally that is set to take place on 10th 18th February 2022.
“This mini-classic is in line with our spirit of fulfilling our competitors’ desires as we prepare for the ultimate challenge, which shall grant free entry for competitors and observe full COVID-19 protocols”, Ghose added.
Ghose said the classic rally is committed to offsetting direct carbon emissions and will partner with REDD in the Chyulu Hills. This involves forest and water conservation along with reforestation projects and the creation of value and real opportunities for local communities and the broader Kenyan society.
The rally boss said the event will involve rally drivers planting trees with selected species of indigenous trees being scattered by the drivers at each checkpoint. Over 50,000 trees will be distributed along the route.
“We recognise the significance of our beloved sport to act in this way and are proud to be in the vanguard of environmental awareness within the rallying world. We intend to pursue the goal of net-zero emissions across the event for the future to keep the sport relevant for all stakeholders and enthusiasts, Ghose explained.
Earlier on EASCR donated Ksh 2.5 million to Kenya Wildlife Services to support the Magical Kenya Tembo Naming ceremony where it adopted 5 elephants in the event meant to celebrate and champion elephant conservation in Kenya by giving the public an opportunity to adopt and give the selected elephants unique identities.
Honour Jayant Shah
This year’s rally, which is sponsored by Safaricom and Dimension Data, will be held in commemoration of Jayant Shah one of East Africas most accomplished and talked about rally drivers who passed away earlier this year. He was a businessman by profession, humble in character, and passionate about rallying, which led him to pursue the sport from 1967. Shah was a veteran of over 250 rallies worldwide and the only competitor to take part in all nine Safari Classics.