60th KCB Safari Rally to mark Diamond Jubilee
This year’s safari rally carries with it a special kind of significance, drawing from events that happened back in 1953 and that have coincided yet again with a jubilee event this year. Starting May 21st to June 1 that year, the East African Coronation Safari rally was initiated to celebrate the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.
It has been 60 years since the Queen succeeded her father King George VI who died when she was in Kenya together with her husband Philip in 1952.
As the Queen celebrates her Diamond Jubilee, the Safari rally marks its 60th Anniversary with plenty of raving history associated with causing excitement through a course labeled as the toughest in the world of rally.
This year, there are a total of 80 drivers who have confirmed participation in the event comprising four nationalities; Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Zambia. Though the colonial government was the initiator of the event, successive governments under the sovereign republic have continued to accord it support making it a world renowned annual rally.
The race begins on June 8th at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre grounds, a venue that has played host 37 times before this year’s event. Kenya Commercial Bank is the official sponsor and has been since 2003 when they first came on board.
The championship will feature several Kenyan drivers among them former 3- time champions Carl Tundo and co- driver Tim Jessop who emerged victorious in 2004, 2009 and 2011 driving a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution 9. Ian Duncan and Amaar Slatch will come into the competition on the back of a win in the East African Safari classic of 2008. Azar Anwar, a former champion will also make an entrance with his Mitsubishi Evolution 8.
Rally drivers will have to deal with lengths of rugged paths made worse by the ongoing rains and a tiring stretch of 672.97 KM. Results from the race will also count as part of the rounds of the African Rally Championships and the Kenya National Rally championships.
The event will culminate with a finishing ceremony at KICC on June 10th where the winner will be crowned. Although the ceremony is not likely to match the pompous occasion of celebrations witnessed throughout Queen Elizabeth II’s realms and the commonwealth, the significance it carries is reflected in equal measure.