• The last two Equator Rallies used the WRC Safari Rally routes in Naivasha and its environs but this year’s event will shift to a brand new route in Voi.
• Kenyan motorsports fans who had grown concerned that Kenya might lose the right to host the Safari Rally will find Namwamba’s statement to be welcome news.
Cabinet Secretary for Sports, Ababu Namwamba has assured motorsports fans in the country that the Equator Rally will be staged in Voi from March 17-19.
The event, a round of the annual African Rally Championship, has served as the warm-up for the WRC Safari Rally for the past two seasons.
Gurvir Bhabra, the course clerk, has already finished the route and established all of the supplemental rules.
There has been minor changes to the route as the organisers seek to make it more challenging.
The last two Equator Rallies used the WRC Safari Rally routes in Naivasha and its environs but this year’s event will shift to a brand new route in Voi.
Kenya Motorsports Federation earlier caused anxiety throughout the country after announcing that the event would be postponed because the government had been unable to release funds on time.
The local governing body then requested a postponement in a letter to the International Automobile Federation (FIA).
Kenyan motorsports fans who had grown concerned that Kenya might lose the right to host the Safari Rally will find Namwamba’s statement to be welcome news.
If the Equator Rally didn’t happen, the schedule for this year’s WRC Safari Rally, set to run from June 22 to 25, would have been in doubt.
World motorsport governing body, FIA has previously barred nations from hosting global motorsport shows if they interfere with any scheduled event leading up to a World Rally Championship.
Kenya would have experienced the same fate, a significant setback for a country that had only recently returned to the WRC after a 19-year absence.
The country, however, heaved a big sigh of relief when CS Namwamba announced a sponsor would restore life to the event.
“I want to express my gratitude to the Sikh Union for assuming control of the Equator Rally. The rally was going to take place. We had no choice but to participate in the African championship series,” said Namwamba.
“The WRC and the ARC classification were lost once, and it won’t happen again. That assurance has already been made at the international level.”
Now that more is being done by the government to ensure Kenya remain a significant rallying destination, the nation’s motorsport enthusiasts can rest easy.
Activities have reached fever pitch even as the government takes bold action to steer the Safari Rally to greater heights.
The newly-appointed chairman of the WRC Safari Rally secretariat, Carl Flash Tundo has promised to propel the event to unprecedented heights.
On Monday, Tundo stated that he is willing to go above and beyond to ensure that he leaves the nation with fond memories.
Tundo is among several prominent personalities appointed by Namwamba to steer the WRC Safari Rally to the desired heights.
The CS will serve as the Steering Committee’s head, assisted by Sports Principal Secretary Jonathan Mueke.
Safari is such an important event to the Kenyan economy.
According to data from the government-funded Tourism Research Institute (TRI), the event’s 2021 iteration generated 24,758 full-time equivalent jobs. Sh3.757 billion was brought in by these jobs as labour income.
Precisely why the government must collaborate with all of the stakeholders to ensure the event’s continued success.