Help revive motor rallying

The low entry of nine cars for the opening round for the 2024 Kenya National Rally Championships scheduled for Saturday in Eldoret is a worrying factor for the well-being and development of the sport.

Entries to the KNRC events have over the years gradually plummeted with the situation deteriorating on the advent of Covid-19 in 2020.

Events in the KNRC used to attract an average of 45 cars with the iconic Guru Nanak Rally drawing not less than 70 cars. Last year, Eldoret Rally drew 13 entries, Guru Nanak 16, Mombasa Rally 12 and KMSC Rally 14, a development that should concern KMSF and the government.

Low entries have not only been witnessed in KNRC but also other national rallying events like Rally Raid, Tarmac, Karting, 4x4 and Autocross, which are the breeding ground for rally drivers.

Rallying in the country is simply dying and drivers are not enjoying the competition any more because the sport has become very expensive and has punitive competition and safety rules.

With the majority of drivers residing in Nairobi, they find it expensive to compete outside owing to extra expenses involved, in addition to owning a certified Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) rally car that is worth over Sh25 million.

Just sitting in a rally car will require close to Sh500,000 for the driving suit and helmet, among other attires in addition to spare parts like suspension and FIA-certified fuel tanks.

Though at different levels, the zeal directed towards the organisation of the World Rally Championship Safari Rally should be emulated at the KNRC.

Even with a month to go to this year’s Safari Rally, the government is yet to release funds for the event scheduled for March 28-31 in Naivasha and Nairobi. Gains made in the last period might go down the drain with lack of good organisation.