• The duo hope to drive for their newly established “Team Racing Matters” which came about during lockdown in Kenya, Botswana and South Africa after they reconnected through social media.
• Steve also drove on the WRC Safari in 1990 for the Japanese Daihatsu Rally Team in a very underpowered normally aspirated Daihatsu Charade.
Former Kenya Autocross champion Steve Anthony and Botswana-based lady competitor Gillian Dykes have announced their ambitious plans to tackle the 2021 Toyota Desert 1,000 Race.
The duo hope to drive for their newly established “Team Racing Matters” which came about during lockdown in Kenya, Botswana and South Africa after they reconnected through social media.
Both are aware of opportunities offered for younger competitors such as FIA Rally Star academy, but for their generation, this opportunity never arose. Ultimately, family and business took priority and it was impossible to go and chase a dream or even earn a living from it. But the duo have decided to follow their dreams, albeit a few decades down the line!
“We are prepared to race anything anywhere! We have received information from fellow competitors who compete in the Sunraysia Safari in Australia offering to help source a vehicle there, and also if the opportunity arises, they would like to compete on home soil in the Classic Safari Rally one day. However, the Toyota 1,000 Desert race held in Botswana every June is the ideal place for us to start,” said Gilly who has officiated and navigated at the Desert event and so feels comfortable navigating Steve in the unique world of cross country rallies.
Steve, a former motocross champion and Guru Nanak Rally winner is a natural driver known to adapt to any car and format of motorsport.
Steve said: “We are looking for a competitive T1 category vehicle. But details are not confirmed yet until sponsorship is attained.”
In order to market the team, they have involved Steph Vetter, who works closely with several South African, Zimbabwe and Botswana competitors and has close connections with the Dakar Rally media, in particular, a group set up to keep fans informed of Southern African competitors in the Dakar Rally. Vetter has set up the social media pages and designed the proposal for them to try source for sponsorship.
“Discussions regarding the vehicle are currently under wraps,” said Vetter, adding: “Team Racing Matters are keen to work with a team with experience in the FIA T1 class and negotiations are ongoing depending on final costs.”
Vetter added that the team also offers an opportunity to promote Tourism in both Kenya and Botswana.
“Both countries have been badly hit due to COVID-19 and need to raise awareness once again of the beauty and diversity of these countries,” said Vetter.
The Toyota 1,000 Desert Race generates millions of Botswana’s Pula in one weekend, with SA competitors coming up and buying goods, fuel and accommodation as well as border fees and car tax permits. Local tourism is also high as over 200, 000 spectators flock to the race each year.
“We imagine the same for Kenya with both the WRC Safari and East African Safari Classic. However, the team feel the need to make the world aware of the plight of children going hungry in Africa and this will be their cause and charity,” Vetter said.
Gillian is ex-Kenyan who grew up with Safari. She was a volunteer under Lady Delamere when she was A kid. She competed with Peter Hayes in Kenya’s BP Visco Rally and did a little autocross.
Steve won the Guru Nanak victory in 1991 with Philip Rally in a Mazda 323 4WD Group N he had purchased in late 1989 as a write off car from Mazda Rally Team Italia which was severely damaged by Belgian Gregoire de Mevius, then the World Group N rally champion, who broke down and bowed out of Safari.
Winning the Guru Nanak in 1991 was Steve’s first KNRC win and the first time a Group N won a KNRC event. Steve started riding bikes at 10 years old at home. His first competition was at Mathatani Scramble track aged 13 in 1974 on a CZ 250 made in Czechoslovakia.
Steve also drove on the WRC Safari in 1990 for the Japanese Daihatsu Rally Team in a very underpowered normally aspirated Daihatsu Charade. Steve began rallying in 1989 in a Datsun 120Y .