The Safari Rally Cars Tuning Escapede


The event started with a proposal put to the Royal East African Automobile Association for a reliability trial to be organised as a celebration of the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.

Planning started in January 1953. The event, called “The East African Coronation Safari”, would have three starts: – Nairobi (Kenya), Morogoro (Tanganyika) and Kampala (Uganda). The rules for the event were simple, they stated :- All the cars were to be in showroom condition – that is nothing could be added to the specification to improve their performance. Entries were to be divided into four classes based on the showroom price of the car. Each class would have it’s own target time for the event, no overall winner was to be declared, entry fee for this historic event was 100 Shillings (£5). The event was timed to finish at the same time the Queen was being crowned in Westminster Abbey. The event ran from 27th May – 1st June 1953.

The event was a flat out blast over the worst roads in East Africa. No rest periods were planned, and no organised servicing was allowed, crews could however carry some spares. The event established a reputation for toughness from the first.

The average speed set for the Volkswagens was 43mph and out of the 56 cars that started only 16 made it back to Nairobi within the time allowance, a further 11 crews struggled in very much later.

The team of Alan Dix & John Larsen driving a 1131cc Split-Window Beetle dropped only 170 penalty points, but the John Manussis/John Boyes Chevrolet was the first car home, dropping 2970 points.

Alan Dix recalling the event in 1968 said they “went off the road, passenger John Larsen’s head hit the windscreen smashing his nose and knocking the unbroken screen onto the car’s bonnet, the front of the car was damaged and was almost undrivable” – Dix wanted to take the injured Larsen to hospital but, he said, “that idea was met with violent protests in almost unbelievable language!” They continued – with the windscreen held in place by the wipers.
alan dix

The winning trend of the VWs continued. The average speed had now gone up to 46mph, but three 2½ hour rest periods had been incorporated into the route. VWs took the first 5 places in their class – it would have been 6, but Brooks & Vest’s car was excluded for a speeding offence.

D P Marwaha & Vic Preston won the event outright from the 11 cars that were penalty free, they being the fastest on the tie-deciding acceleration and braking test. 25 cars finished from 50 starters.

Alan Dix the previous year’s winner came home 3rd in class & VWs won the team award .


A Ford Zodiac won the event overall but VWs again won their class and the team award for the third year in succession. The average speed was now up to 46mph. The domination of the event continued in 1955 when all except one of the finishers in Class “A” were Volkswagens.


This was to be a poor year for Volkswagens, the classes were still organised on the showroom price of the car and for the first time VWs were over the limit of £516 for class “A” and now ran in the up to £735 class. The best that could be achieved was 8th in class “B” For although the car of Frazer & Brochner finished penalty free, they were not quick enough on the tie-deciding blast round Nakuru race circuit.
safari rally
Eric Cecil won the event and class “B”driving a DKW. The 1957 event, the first to have International status, was a good year for the VW crews, now back in class “A” (up to £600). It was a very wet and muddy year, the sort of conditions that the Beetles revelled in. 64 starters left Nairobi on the 19th April and so bad were the conditions that by the time the crews reached the half way stage back in Nairobi, only 25 cars were left running. However 6 of the Beetles were still penalty free – although most of them had been caught in a Tanganyikan police speed trap. The penalty for this was finally dropped after much protesting by the organisers.

The Beetles had been fitted with a “Secret Weapon” to combat the mud – this was in the form of foot rests fitted to the rear bumper mounts and grab handles mounted by the air intake grill.

The second half of the event ground to a halt when an ambulance got stuck on a steep hill 60 miles from Suam Bridge. The first few cars got past the stuck ambulance, then cars got stuck and the whole event ground to a halt – some crews were still stuck the next day!

The VWs ability to find traction where other cars couldn’t, combined with the “Secret Weapon”, meant that most of the Beetles had come through what went down in Safari mythology as Ambulance Hill without losing too much time.
The results showed a win for “Gust” Hofmann and Arthur Burton in their Beetle, with Beetles taking the first 5 places in their class. 64 cars started and only 19 cars got to the finish, of which 6 were VWs. This enabled them to take the Team Prize as well. One pointer to the future was a certain Mr T T Fjastad, who finished 4th in Class. Arthur Burton later took over as Clerk of the Course for the Rally and was to guide the event through some of its most famous times.
safari rally
1958 was another average year for the Volkswagens. Whilst they didn’t win their class, the reliability of the cars meant that they again won the team prize and took 2nd to 5th in class positions. One interesting entry was the Karmann Ghia of K.W.Wigens / D.N.Breed – this was running in the “lion “ class for cars over £850.

The Beetles ran in the “Impala” class for cars priced up to £650. The Impala class had to average the same speed as all the other classes, no overall winner was declared.

1959 was a disastrous year for the Volkswagen by the previous standards. The best that could be achieved was 9th Overall and 2nd in class by R M Patel & Joginder Singh.

The 1960’s brought the event greater status as part of the World Rally Championship and, of course, the influx of the works teams.

There was at that time a belief, that grew into folk law, that any driver who did not live in Africa would never win the Safari. The works teams were out to disprove this myth.

1960 saw Jodinger repeat his previous years 9th Overall, but an added bonus was winning Class “C” for cars of 1001 to 1300cc- the rule about the cash price of the cars had been changed to fall in with the events International status.

Only one other Volkswagen finished, driven by South African-based VW service manager Harry Bausch. He finished 25th out of the 25 finishers.

In 1961 only three VWs finished the event, the best result was Joginder & Jaswant Singh, who finished in 19th place. The reasons why are explained in the next section. John Manussis won with a three-man crew the only time this happened in Safari history – he was driving a Mercedes-Benz 220SE.
For the 1962 event a team of five cars was entered by the Cooper Motor Corporation, the local VW agents and importers of VWs. The experience they had hard won from previous years was used to good effect when preparing the cars and choosing the crews.

The cars were to be driven by the following crews: –

John Manussis & Bill Coleridge

Tommy Fjastad & Bernhard Schmider

J F Banks & T F Bradley

Joginder Singh & Jaswant Singh

Gerd Elvers & L E Baillargeon

All were well versed in Safari conditions, Manussis being a past Safari winner.


Preparations for the 1962 event had started in August 1961, when two technicians came over from the VW factory at Wolfsburg in Germany and carried out a 3000 mile test run trying various modifications.

The crews were sent off to do a reconnaissance of the route and make “pace notes” of difficult corners, poor bridges, obscure road junctions and river crossings. In all a total of 30,000 miles were covered by the crews in the months prior to the event, and page after page of notes taken.

Tommy Fjastad mounted these notes in a roller system fixed in a box, rather like two toilet rolls, so that as the route was followed the notes could be unrolled and read. This avoided having large amount’s of loose paper in the car, and the roll was changed at the half way stage. Denis Jenkinson used a similar device when he navigated Stirling Moss to victory in the 1955 Mille Miglia .

The Safari conditions meant that the event demanded very different driving skills from, say, the Monte Carlo.

The drivers were instructed that if – due to the road conditions (deep mud floods, etc) – they could not get through individually, then they were to rope the cars together, bumper to bumper, in the form of a crocodile. They had discovered on the 1959 event that was the only way to make progress.

From the mass of notes a plan of action was drawn up. It was known that the Beetles would be out paced for speed on the northern loop of the rally and that the second half from Nairobi to Dar-es-Salam would have the deep mud, stones, ditches and general rough going that would better suit the Beetles.

The plan was to drive the first half at a speed that would keep the team in touch with the leading cars and leave the vehicles in a sound enough condition to mount an assault in the second half of the event through the notorious Umbulu section.


In 1961, the debut of the new 34bhp engine, all the VWs had experienced trouble with cracked gear selector housings on the new all syncromesh gearboxes allowing all the oil to leak out of the gear box resulting in retirement for most of the VWs. Jodinger Singh’s car had its gearbox changed twice by the crew, but to no avail.

The trouble was found to be the bonded rubber mountings on the gearbox shearing, allowing the gear box to move excessively causing the casing to crack. This was the result of a change made by the factory in reducing the hardness of the mountings for 1960 onwards. So for the 1962 event the earlier, harder, mountings were fitted, these were also made available to customers as a factory option.

The cars for the 1962 event were 34bhp, 1192cc Beetles, with the new for 1960 all syncromesh gearbox. They were in fact 1961 model year cars, because the Safari took place over Easter and Volkswagen’s 1962 model production started in August.

The cars were specially prepared at Wolfsburg and were based on the cars produced for the German post office, but of course right-hand drive. This is why the cars were all painted in German Post Office grey (Anthracite Grey).

Although the cars had to be near standard mechanically (the East African Safari was only for production cars at this time), several modifications were made at the factory.


1/ Front axle reinforcement – extra supports were fitted from the axle to the frame.

2/ Harder gearbox mounts.

3/ Front skid plate /stone guard.

4/ Extra protection to front gear box mounting.

5/ Protection plates for the jacking points.

6/ Police Specification Electrical system.

7/ Extra engine bay seals

All these were Factory options that could be fitted to any customer’s car.


When the cars arrived in Nairobi other modifications were made to suit the local conditions. A white spot was painted on the bonnet so that in the event of an accident a hole could be cut in that spot to get at the petrol filler cap, and rubber clips were used to secure the bonnet and engine cover, instead of the standard catch.

The chrome trim in the drivers eye line was painted black to avoid glare, extra padding was added to the driver’s seat and door, and the spotlights were mounted on the door hinges to keep them clear of the mud. The whole seat was covered in a cloth material, with pockets sewn in the back to take oddments and bottles of Lucosade glucose drink.

The passenger’s seat was also made to recline so that the off-duty crewman could catch some sleep during the quieter moments of the route.

The rear seats were removed and a plywood tray fitted in its place holding spare parts, a panga (a sort of large knife) for chopping down the bush and a spade entrenching tool for digging the car out if it became bogged down.

The rear wings were fitted with 5mm wire rolled into the edges, this was to strengthen the wing and to stop the edges fraying from the impact of stones.

Stone guards were fitted to the headlights to protect the lenses and mud flaps added to keep down flying stones. A sump protection grid was under the engine.

The electrics were waterproofed, and special modifications made to allow the cars to wade through deep water. These included rubber hose extensions where one end was fitted over the exhaust tailpipes and the other end was arranged so that it could be clipped to the grille by the rear window.

This stopped water entering the exhaust when fording deep water and flooding the engine, and a hose was also provided to fit from the carburettor into the interior of the car so that dry air could be fed to the engine. This was to prove very useful later on.


The engines were stripped down, and the rotating parts balanced, the cylinder head ports were opened out and the camshaft changed, the exhaust was cut open and the pipe lengths inside the exhaust were equalised before welding the box back together.

The silencing linings were also removed from the tailpipes to give a better flow for the exhaust gasses, then, after very careful blueprinting and re-assembly the engines were “run-in” for some considerable mileage to get a smooth, free-running engine. This work resulted in a car that was a lot quicker than a standard 1192cc Beetle, 80mph being easily attainable (72mph for a standard car).

Starting from Nairobi, Kenya’s capital, the route was in the form of a figure eight, forming a northern and southern loop. The total distance being 3080 miles, this to be covered in three days and four nights of almost non-stop motoring.

The Rally, on leaving Nairobi, headed north to skirt Mount Kenya. Then it crossed the equator into Uganda, on through the Sebei District and round Mount Elgon to the one hour rest halt at Kampala, then back to Nairobi through the night and following morning to the welcome promise of an afternoon’s rest.

The southern loop took the crews into Tanganyika, the roads ranging in altitude from the heights of Mount Kilimanjaro to sea level at Dar-es-Salam; the final section was north up the coast to Mombassa and finally ending back to Nairobi on Easter Monday.


The cars lined up on the starting ramp on the afternoon of Thursday 19th April. The event started with the departure of car one, a white Renault, followed at one minute intervals by the rest of the field, including, at No 5, Pat Moss driving a Saab.

The Ford Anglia of local crew Shah and Vangla were at No 25. Then the VW team with John Manussis at No 36 driving KHC 913, followed by Banks & Bradley in KHD 304 at No 39, Tommy Fjastad & Bernhard Schmider in KHD 302 at No 40, and the brothers Jodinger and Jaswant Singh in KHD 301 at No 44.

A total of 104 cars set off and raced through the night towards the difficult, steep and twisting tracks round Mount Kenya. Here the cars had an unexpected hazard to contend with. Locals amused themselves by throwing rocks at the rally cars and many competitors suffered damage to windscreens lights and bodywork. This was one aspect of the rally that did not change over the years, drivers are still complaining of children throwing stones to this day!

The pace was now starting to hot up with the big cars like the Mercedes, Ford Zodiac’s and the Australian Falcons using their power to good effect as the roads reached altitudes of up to 9000ft above sea level. The thinner air robbed the smaller engined cars of much needed power even though the VWs would have been fitted with altitude correctors to the carburettor main jet to maintain the correct air/fuel mixture to the engine.

Daylight brought Good Friday – and the rough rocky section round Mount Elgon. Here disaster struck many cars including the leading VW of Manussis, he hit a rock and despite the provision of a stout sump guard, it left him with a fractured sump and no option but to retire – this was sadly to be Manussis’ last Safari.

John Manussis moved to England soon after and died in 1964 aged 47. Manussis still holds the record of being the only driver ever to win the Safari with a three-man crew in 1961. He drove a Mercedes on that occasion and he also held the record for the drive from Nairobi to Nakuru –100 miles in 57mins (105.26mph) – that time in a D-type Jaguar!

Anne Hall, driving a Ford, smashed her radiator and Bill Fritchy, last year’s winner, driving a Mercedes, crashed out of the event. Jodinger Singh hit a washaway and bent the front axle of his VW; later he repaired a hole in the sump using a mixture of mud and soap and went on to finish a creditable second in class and fifth overall.

The remaining cars battled onward towards the rest halt at Kampala. 15 cars failed to make the checkpoint here.

After a 25-minute break the crews set off south, driving through the Friday night and Saturday morning to reach Nairobi with the welcoming prospect of an afternoon’s rest and the publishing of the half distance results.

The results so far showed that a total of 25 cars had retired and that the best placed VW was the Fjastad & Schmider car in eighth place. So at this stage – apart from the demise of Manussis – all was going as planed for the VW team but with over 1500 Safari miles to go anything could still happen.
The Southern leg started on Saturday night and the crews faced a dash through Tanganyika and the roads and tracks skirting Mount Kilimanjaro, then, as an added bonus for the organisers it started to rain as the cars approached the most difficult section at Umbulu.

This section was the death knell of the larger cars as they slipped, slithered and ground to a halt on tracks where the rain and dust had combined to turn the roads into a sea of bottomless black stinking mud that saw cars bogged down to floor level.

At Bashenit the two leading Mercedes stuck fast and, despite strenuous jacking and pushing by their crews, lost any chance of victory. To combat the conditions some competitors even fitted snow chains to the tyres in an attempt to find traction.

The same fate almost befell a VW when tackling the roads through the sisal plantations at Ubenazamizi; it became stuck in 18″ deep ruts, the crew having a hectic hour extricating the car. Most competitors lost time here but the majority of the VWs came through the section unscathed despite using normal tread tyres instead of Town and Country “snow” tyres favoured by many other teams.

The deep treads of the snow tyres did give more grip in the mud, but it was found that due to the superior traction of the VW and the fact that these tyres sapped more power it was decided, before the start, to gamble on not fitting them.

It was a gamble that was however starting to pay dividends, because when the crews reached the coast and the control at Dar-es-Salam. Only 65 cars were still running, and the VW of Tommy Fjastad and Bernhard Schmider was leading the rally by two minutes.

Following the short break at “Dar”, where both cars and crews were replenished, the relentless race against the clock continued, north now, on the last long leg through the night to Mombassa and the dawn of the final day’s motoring on Easter Monday.

Things were getting really nail biting for the leading crews. Pat Moss and Eric Carlsson – driving Saabs with their usual skill, flair and nerve – were determined to catch Fjastad and had a very real chance of doing so. For although the VW should have the advantage over the really rough stuff, as the roads became better approaching Nairobi the Saab would be faster and the two minutes deficit would be possible to claw back.

Erik Carlsson was now leading the rally after a masterly drive through the car-breaking Umbulu section. This was not, however, to last – Carlsson lost a lot of time on the road to Dodoma, first taking a wrong turning and then due to a marked absence of brakes obtained when a rock went through the floor and severed a brake pipe. He was dropping down the field and was in third place at Dar-es-Salam where the SAAB service crew patched up his vehicle.

Erik now put on a brilliant display of driving to close within one minute of Fjastad’s leading Volkswagen when the SAAB succumbed to the harsh treatment meted out by Carlsson when it’s rear suspension collapsed. Carlsson was now out of contention for the lead, but carried on at a reduced speed to support Pat Moss. Lumps of wood held in place by fencing wire and a jack now supported his broken rear suspension. He ended the rally in sixth place, one hour down on time to the winning car.

It was going to be a close run thing, with the odds now in favour of the new leaders Pat Moss & Ann Riley in their Saab 96.


The Safari as it has been said is not like other rallies – as Pat Moss found out to her cost when an Impala jumped out of the bush during the final night of the rally and landed on the front of her Saab smashing the front of her car, breaking the distributor cap, fan belt and bending the pulley. Erik Carlsson lost twenty minutes helping her to undertake emergency repairs, letting the VW of Tommy Fjastad into the lead for the second time.

Time lost on repairs, coupled with poor performance on the braking test at the finish – when Pat misunderstood the importance of the test. This cost her any chance of beating the Fjastad VW and also dropped her into third place behind the Peugeot 404 of Zbigniew “Nick” Nowicki, who was then on the same penalties – but had better times on the tie-deciding designated parts of the route.

Pat did however win the Coupe des Dames – a small consolation for what could have been. The Safari myth that no European-based driver could win the event was still unbroken, and was to remain so until Timo Makinen broke it for once and all in 1974, driving a Ford Escort.

So it was a triumphant Tommy Fjastad and Bernhard Schmider who entered Nairobi at the head of the surviving 46 of the 104 cars that started. His VW was placed 1st 0verall, 1st in class C and also won the award for the best Price/Performance Index.

When he was interviewed Tommy Fjastad said that the car was in excellent condition and was ready to go round again, a prophetic remark, as we shall see.

When the dust had settled on the ’62 event the Cooper Motor Corporation – who were the main Importers of VWs into Kenya – took stock of the situation. They had won the rally and had used that to promote the Beetle as “The” car for African conditions, and of course to hopefully help Volkswagen sell more cars worldwide.

One enterprising dealer in the Australian outback even had a fleet of demonstrator Beetles fitted out to look like Rally winning cars, one of which was a replica of KHD 302.

The real KHD 302 was put on the show circuit before being retired to “Workshop Hack” duties, with all the Safari bits still on the car it was a useful tool to have if some one needed to go somewhere in a hurry.

For 1963 all the cars were private entries without “Works” backing from the Cooper Motor Corporation, this was to be the year of the “Magnificent Seven” for out of a entry of 84 cars only 7 finished, but not one VW was among them, Nowiki won driving a Peugeot 404. After the event a statement was issued by Mr D.G.Allen the Managing Director of The Cooper Motor Corporation, it said: –

“This year (1963) we gave no help to the VW entrants competing in the Safari – they were all privately owned and driven. In 1962, when we sponsored a team and won the Safari outright, the cost to the company was over £12,000, plus a considerable loss of workshop time and trade due to a preoccupation with the organisation of service controls, etc., which incidentally also inconvenienced a great many of our customers. We found that at this stage a private company can no longer compete with the works teams such as those from the Ford Motor Company, BMC, etc.”

Given that the cost of a new Beetle in 1963 was about £600 in the UK. That £12,000 to win the Safari equates to close to a Quarter of a Million Pounds today. They were a very small organisation compared with the European Works Teams.

It is understandable why they had to stop; also an added factor was that Kenya was in the throws of Independence with many Europeans opting to leave the country. Times were perhaps not so certain as they had been under colonial rule.

This then brings us to 1964, where Tommy Fjastad comes back into the picture. Tommy was very keen to do the ’64 event and had been promised a drive in a Ford Lincoln-Mercury Comet, a big, heavy, powerful, bright red painted American Sedan. The Comet’s power was to prove useful to Tommy later on in this story, but for the moment, after a practice session on the northern half of the route, where Tommy is alleged to have bent all the cars shock absorbers, he found himself out of the team with only one day left before the official close of entries. Most people would have given up, but Safari drivers are made of sterner stuff, – but where to get a suitable car at such very short notice?

Tommy dashed round to The Cooper Motor Corporation, had they, he said, still got his old Safari winning car KHD 302? Yes they had, Tommy asked to buy the car as it stood which was, you remember, as a workshop hack. A deal was entered into. Tommy paid £300 for the two-year old car, now with 24,000 miles on the clock, and drove it back home where he set to and made the car ready for its second Safari outing. In fact he only had to spend another £50 on the car to get it up to scratch.

So a few days later the old car- now wearing the number 93, stood at the start of it’s second Safari, three other VWs were among the 94 starters they were driven by R B Carlisle & J Paton at No 90, Nirmal Singh Bachu & Pyara Singh Bachu at No 97 and F S Sababady & R Vernon at No 98.

In 1962 the starting order had been determined by engine capacity with the smallest starting first. However for 1964 starting was by ballot, with the lower start numbers having a distinct advantage. Tommy knew, when he saw his high start number, there was little chance of repeating his 1962 win, and concentrated on getting what was probably the oldest and highest mileage car in the event to the finish.

(All the prizes are at the finish! – Roger Clark)


Tommy says that event was reasonably straight forward, at least for the first half. Rear-engined traction took them through the worst of the mud. So well did they go that after Tinderet they passed no less than eight cars that had bogged down, later on through the wet Umbulu section, although they lost time, they also passed nine more cars including two Comets! The first major problem they had was about 70 miles outside Dar-es-Salaam when two locals threw stones at the passing cars. They must have improved their aim with the passage of almost 80 Rally cars because they hit and shattered the VW’s windscreen.

The glass cut both Tommy and his co-driver Jasani’s faces, they pressed on and changed the screen themselves (no service crews) at Dar in only 1 Min 45 Sec, try that for yourself some time!

After Dar-es-Salaam the mud and the weather got steadily worse until eventually the VW came to a spot where there once stood a bridge. The middle of the bridge had collapsed after the early cars had crossed. When Fjastad arrived at the bridge a competitor in a Peugeot had got out a nylon towrope and was unsuccessfully trying to pull a Comet – driven by Viscount “Kim” Manderville across the gap.

The 6 crews still on the wrong side of the river were faced with exclusion or bridge building – they choose to re-build the bridge – after manhandling the Comet across the gap, the Comet’s power on the end of a tow rope was used to “catapult” the remaining cars over the bridge. The VW was the last car across before the bridge collapsed totally stranding the remaining 5 cars and putting them out of the event. The Fjastad & Jasani VW was now running last car on the road.

Later on the cars were stopped again, this time at a swollen river, the organisers gave a time allowance so that competitors could wait to see if the river was going to subside enough to allow the cars to cross. Tommy decided not to wait and, with the VW acting like a submarine, swam its way across the river in 4ft of water. The following two cars, a SAAB and a Datsun, tried to emulate the VW and drowned in the muddy torrent.

The VW was able to ford the river so well because of the crafty modifications made for the ’62 event (described earlier). These consisted of a hole cut into the engine firewall and a length of hose that was in the cars tool kit, this went through the hole and after removing the air cleaner fitted on to the carburettor air intake. This would then draw dry air from inside the passenger compartment.

Two more rubber pipes fitted over the exhaust tailpipes and clipped on to the air intake grille under the rear window, keeping the water out of the exhaust.

The engine bay had extra sealing fitted and the ignition system had also been waterproofed using condoms fitted over the coil and distributor!

The rest of the run back to the finish at Nairobi was in Tommy’s own words “uneventful”!

The results, when they came out, were a revelation – only 21 cars had survived to get to the finish and in class B there was only one finisher out of the 17 starters in the class. That was the class winning VW of Fjastad and Jasani – what happened to the team of Comets?

Well only two Comets finished, over an hour after the lone VW came home. Safari Veterans “Kim” Manderville and Jodinger Singh drove them. It seems that Tommy made the right choice after all!

What happened to KHD 302 is a mystery from here on. Its fate is unknown.


1965 was almost a repeat of the 1964 event, in that it was yet another very wet year. 85 starters left Nairobi to battle with the elements. But only 16 returned, again only one VW finished the event – a very wrecked looking VW 1200 crewed by Mohammed Khan & Balbir Singh.

They repeated Tommy Fjastad’s triumph by winning the class.

It makes the drive more incredible when you realise that this was the last time a 1192cc Beetle would ever get to finish the rally. The reason for the 1200 not being competitive was that the organisers set the time schedule for the event by using last years fastest times and taking a bit off for luck! The old 1200 was just not quick enough any more.

For 1966, Richard Barbour and Mike Doughty had entered one of the newly imported VW 1300 Beetles, there may have been doubts about the new “ball joint” front suspension – was it as good as the old “king and linkpin”? (A debate that still goes on today). In what was another very wet rally, Barbour and Doughty – with only a faulty starter motor to spoil an otherwise trouble free run – splashed their way up to a very credible second place overall by the time the Rally reached Kampala, the finish of the first half of the Rally. So perhaps the Beetle wasn’t dead yet.

Between Kampala and the finish at Nairobi, disaster struck. They hit a rock damaging a track rod and the time needed for repairs dropped them down the field. So out of the 9 cars that finished the VW (with the smallest engine of all the finishers) finally came home in 7th place beating a Ford Cortina GT and a Mercedes 220SE in the process.

What the VW really needed to stay competitive was more power. And it finally got it when, in late 1966, the 1500 Beetle was imported into Kenya.


Fjastad, Khan and Barbour’s giant killing acts had not gone unnoticed, for meanwhile down at the Cooper Motor Corporation some one had a bright idea: –

It was as easy as ABC!

A/ The 1500 were being marketed as the “Hot Beetle”.

B/ The last 4 Safari’s had been mud baths – and Beetles go well in the mud.

C/ If an almost standard private entry1300 could get up to 2nd place, The new 1500 with full backing might be quick enough to win in a wet year (In a dry year it would be very different story.)

A team of 1500 Beetles were prepared for the 1967 Rally, this was to be a full blooded effort just like the ’62 event and a second team of private entry 1300 Beetles were also given help and advice . The cars were to be driven by the best VW drivers available and were allocated as follows.

TEAM No 1. VW 1500 Beetles

No 16. B Bengry & J Bradley

No 22. T Fjastad & B Smith

No 25 R Barbour & M Doughty

No 39 E Ruthmann & C McNaughton

No 59. B Ferguson &/ M Stahl (VW AUSTRALIA) Ferguson was a non-starter

TEAM No 2. VW 1300 Beetles

These were unsponsored Private entries.

No 40 M Khan & H Reuter

No 57 C Walles & C Dickson

No 68 S Desai & G Turner

No 74 N Singh Bachu & P Singh Bachu

No 78 P Choda & G Choda

Other VWs in the event were:

No 84 A Singh Gill & T Singh Sembi (VW 1300)

No 88 G Barbour & D Brooksbank (VW 1500)

No 92 J Bhamra & D Parker (VW 1300)


The Safari was historically for Group 1 cars – this does not allow any major modifications to the cars – but in 1967, for the first time in the Safari’s history, Group 1, 2 and 3 cars were allowed to run in the ’67 event. To tune the 1500 Beetles to Group 2 specification Coopers turned to Scania Vabis and Okrasa in Europe for help.


The crank, flywheel, clutch and connecting rods were balanced to within 0.4 gram.

Pistons from a 1500S Notchback were fitted to give 8.5 to 1 compression ratio, these were lightened by machining off the pistons skirts, the flywheel was lightened by 3.5 lbs. and the cylinder heads were gas-flowed and the combustion chambers balanced. Standard valve gear was used.

The camshaft was from Okrasa, most likely an Okrasa Rally grind; this gave 254 degrees duration 8-mm lift and 19-55-54-20 timing. The carburettor was the 30 PICT with the venturi bored out to 26.5mm. The pre-heater pipes to the manifold and the hot air pipes to the air filter were blocked, and the Carburettor insulated to help stop vapour locks


For 1966, Richard Barbour and Mike Doughty had entered one of the newly imported VW 1300 Beetles, there may have been doubts about the new “ball joint” front suspension – was it as good as the old “king and linkpin”? (A debate that still goes on today). In what was another very wet rally, Barbour and Doughty – with only a faulty starter motor to spoil an otherwise trouble free run – splashed their way up to a very credible second place overall by the time the Rally reached Kampala, the finish of the first half of the Rally. So perhaps the Beetle wasn’t dead yet.

Between Kampala and the finish at Nairobi, disaster struck. They hit a rock damaging a track rod and the time needed for repairs dropped them down the field. So out of the 9 cars that finished the VW (with the smallest engine of all the finishers) finally came home in 7th place beating a Ford Cortina GT and a Mercedes 220SE in the process.

What the VW really needed to stay competitive was more power. And it finally got it when, in late 1966, the 1500 Beetle was imported into Kenya.


Fjastad, Khan and Barbour’s giant killing acts had not gone unnoticed, for meanwhile down at the Cooper Motor Corporation some one had a bright idea: –

It was as easy as ABC!

A/ The 1500 were being marketed as the “Hot Beetle”.

B/ The last 4 Safari’s had been mud baths – and Beetles go well in the mud.

C/ If an almost standard private entry1300 could get up to 2nd place, The new 1500 with full backing might be quick enough to win in a wet year (In a dry year it would be very different story.)

A team of 1500 Beetles were prepared for the 1967 Rally, this was to be a full blooded effort just like the ’62 event and a second team of private entry 1300 Beetles were also given help and advice . The cars were to be driven by the best VW drivers available and were allocated as follows.

TEAM No 1. VW 1500 Beetles

No 16. B Bengry & J Bradley

No 22. T Fjastad & B Smith

No 25 R Barbour & M Doughty

No 39 E Ruthmann & C McNaughton

No 59. B Ferguson &/ M Stahl (VW AUSTRALIA) Ferguson was a non-starter

TEAM No 2. VW 1300 Beetles

These were unsponsored Private entries.

No 40 M Khan & H Reuter

No 57 C Walles & C Dickson

No 68 S Desai & G Turner

No 74 N Singh Bachu & P Singh Bachu

No 78 P Choda & G Choda

Other VWs in the event were:

No 84 A Singh Gill & T Singh Sembi (VW 1300)

No 88 G Barbour & D Brooksbank (VW 1500)

No 92 J Bhamra & D Parker (VW 1300)


The Safari was historically for Group 1 cars – this does not allow any major modifications to the cars – but in 1967, for the first time in the Safari’s history, Group 1, 2 and 3 cars were allowed to run in the ’67 event. To tune the 1500 Beetles to Group 2 specification Coopers turned to Scania Vabis and Okrasa in Europe for help.


The crank, flywheel, clutch and connecting rods were balanced to within 0.4 gram.

Pistons from a 1500S Notchback were fitted to give 8.5 to 1 compression ratio, these were lightened by machining off the pistons skirts, the flywheel was lightened by 3.5 lbs. and the cylinder heads were gas-flowed and the combustion chambers balanced. Standard valve gear was used.

The camshaft was from Okrasa, most likely an Okrasa Rally grind; this gave 254 degrees duration 8-mm lift and 19-55-54-20 timing. The carburettor was the 30 PICT with the venturi bored out to 26.5mm. The pre-heater pipes to the manifold and the hot air pipes to the air filter were blocked, and the Carburettor insulated to help stop vapour locks………

The Safari Rally Cars Tuning Escapede 2



This had protection plates fitted to the spare wheel well and to the jacking points, a roll cage was made locally from 2″ X 3¼” square tube. The engine was protected with a sumpguard – made from the leaf springs of a Land Rover, attached to the rear bumper hangers and to the forks by the front gear box mounting. This gave good protection, but still let air flow round the sump. Problems with overheating had been found with a fully enclosing guard – even with this leaf spring guard, oil temperatures were in the 120°C region.


It is difficult to be exact about power output but, working from other tuners data, I would estimate around 55/60 bhp at sea level (where the cars were good for over 90mph), but because most of the Safari Rally is run at a height of 6000ft above sea level, the thin air gives a power loss of about 18%, so the usual maximum was 87mph.

Speeds of over 50 mph were available in second gear, and up to 77-78 in third. This equates to a maximum engine speed of 6000rpm; maximum power was at 4300 RPM.

The rear torsion bars were thicker than standard, and Bilstein dampers were used, not Koni as in previous years. The “Z” bar fitted to the rear suspension was modified to come into action sooner than normal.

Disc brakes were a standard fitment on the 1500, the first Beetle to have them. Most of the cars had the braking system modified with a pressure limiter fitted into the front brake line. This stopped the front wheels locking before the rears came into action.


Major car manufacturers were taking the event very seriously. The Ford team, for example, had entered 2 Mkl Lotus-Cortinas and 6 MkII Cortina GTs and they had 36 mechanics mounting service points for their star drivers Roger Clark, Peter Hughes and Bengt Soderstrom.

Finnish Rally Ace Rauno Aaltonen was driving a BMC Mini Cooper but he retired early on when his carburettor air filters filled up with dust and damaged the engine.

The rally started from Jamhuri Park on the outskirts of Nairobi with Soderstrom in one of the new Mkll Cortinas streaking into the lead, his car kicking up vast clouds of dust in its wake.

Bengt Soderstrom was making the most of his number one starting position, for following cars had to drive through clouds of choking dust. Overtaking in these conditions almost becomes a lottery, where faster cars had to drive almost blind through the dust when overtaking slower cars.

The 1967 Rally was later to prove to be the driest Safari on record; this was not good news for the VW crews who needed the mud and the rain that the cars revelled in and in the dry conditions the Fords and the Peugeots were just too fast – they were reputed to be at least 20mph faster than the Beetles.

It is not surprising that under these conditions accidents happened, Tommy Fjastad’s car plunged 100ft down an embankment after he ran out of road near Bura whilst trying to overtake a slower car in the dust – the Beetle was wrecked. The car subsequently caught fire and the petrol tank exploded. Fortunately, both Tommy and his passenger Bev Smith were thrown clear and escaped with relatively minor injuries – it could so easily have been a lot worse.

The dust also had another effect on the Beetles. The cars had been fitted with modified engine bay sealing – extra sealing strips were fitted between the engine and the body to keep mud and water out of the engine. But this did not keep out all the dust – vast quantities of the choking stuff was sucked into the engine bay of the cars by the cooling fans, coating the engine with a thick layer of dust, causing the engines to loose power and overheat.

The torrid conditions were having a marked effect on the usually reliable Beetles. All the Beetles except Bill Bengry’s car had been fitted with electric fuel pumps. As Bill tackled the very rough Nakuru section he came upon Richard Barbour whose car had stalled due to vapour locking caused by the terrific heat given out from his overheating engine, Richard got his car restarted but lost valuable time in the process.

About 20 miles after the next control, Bill’s car stopped when his mechanical fuel pump packed in. He replaced it with a new pump from the spares carried on board the car, but this gave up the ghost 100 miles later when the heat from the engine warped the valves in the pump.

Bill says that at this stage the engine was so hot it was almost impossible to touch anything, they made one good pump from the remains of the two dead ones and went on their way. Only to retire later when a rock damaged the oil strainer plate, the loss of oil causing a big end to go, and that was the end of his rally.

This was particularly cruel luck as he was at that time the leading VW and almost home, the worst of the rally behind him.

George Barbour, in one of the privately-entered cars, was going well until close to Korogwe when he fell foul of some local “pranksters” who thought it would be a good idea to put large rocks in the road on a blind bend – just to see what happened. George hit a large rock damaging a front wheel and smashing the brake disc and calliper. This was later put right, but it had caused other damage that subsequently put him out of the rally. Some things never change – the same fate almost overtaking Carlos Sainz on the RAC Rally in 1994.

The other two 1500 Beetles, driven by Richard Barbour & Mike Doughty and Ernst Ruthmann & Chris McNaughton, finished in good mechanical order – ut well down the field. The best result was 19th 0verall.

The drivers of the 1300 Beetles did very well to finish at all, they were loosing time into every control and were lucky to avoid being excluded for lateness.


It was apparent that the Okrasa Group 2 modifications for the 1500 that had worked in the somewhat cooler northern climate were not suitable for the Safari’s tropical conditions. The 1300, with less power and the same cooling system, did not seem to suffer to the same extent.

To be fair, if the weather had been the same as the previous four years – that is, very wet and muddy – all the Beetles would have fared a lot better.

The Cooper Motor Corporation knew this when they entered the rally and gambled on the weather staying wet, it was a gamble they lost. Who knows what may have happened if the weather had been wet, and the Beetles had done better?

This then really was the end. Coopers pulled the plug on financing entries and it was apparent that the Beetle had had its day on the Safari. I can find no record of a 1500S Notchback or a 1600 Fastback finishing the event.

After 1967 no VW Beetle ever again finished a Safari Rally. Not so Tommy Fjastad, he popped up again in 1969 when Messrs Fjastad and Salt brought home an Audi Super 90 into 12th place out of 31 finishers and a well deserved class win – you can’t, as they say, keep a good man down.
Results of the VWs in the 1967 Safari Rally:


Position Drivers Car
19th R Barbour & M Doughty VW 1500 Beetle
25th E Ruthmann & C McNaughton VW 1500 Beetle
41st N S Bachu & P S Bachu VW 1300 Beetle
43rd C Walles & C Dickson VW 1300 Beetle
47th A S Gill & T S Sembi VW 1300 Beetle

Reason Drivers Car
Holed sump at Meru W Bengry & J Bradley VW 1500 Beetle
Crashed & caught fire T Fjastad & B Smith VW 1500 Beetle
Failed to reach Arusha M S Khan & H Reuter VW 1300 Beetle
Bent front suspension G Barbour & W Miller VW 1500 Beetle
Retired at Mombassa J Bhamra & D Parker VW 1300 Beetle


Destination Monte Peter Harper
Tricks of the Rally Game Gunnar Palm & Herbert Volker
Safari Fever Nick Brittan
Safer Motoring Magazine

Various Issues
VW Motoring
– 1995

Various Issues 1994
Tuning Volkswagens Peter Noad
VW Beetle in Motorsport Peter Noad



Championship Standings after MX Round 4.
1. Jaiden Takkunen (KTM) 227
2. Neo Wahome (KTM) 203
3. Kit Garner (KTM) 194
1. Dylan Mutahi (KTM) 189
2. Tai Wahome (KTM)187
3. Jet Takkunen (KTM) 181
4. James Luusa (KTM) 171
5. Dekker Kihara (KTM) 120
6. Mali Nyachae (KTM) 113
7. Nandi Kiplagat (KTM)112
8. Rafe Garner (KTM) 105
9 Lemayian Waiyaki (KTM) 60
10 Jonathan Mulonzia (KTM) 12
1. Ethan Nyachae (KTM) 240
2 Maina Wanjigi (KTM) 188
3 Kigen Kiplagat (KTM) 169
4 Christian Chege (KTM)127
5 Rolf Kihara (KTM)98
6 Conner Chesterman (KTM)90
7 Zenni Mokaya (YAM)84
8 Mwai Githinji (KTM) 82
9. John Schrier (YAM) 73
10. Samuel Magwa (KTM)61
11. William Mayer (HON)51
12. Vince Schrier 37
1. Ngugi Waweru (KTM) 240
2. Orobia Malungu (YAM)158
3. Elias Sherman (KTM)150
4. Maxine Wahome (KTM) 121
5. Githuku Mungai (KTM) 119
6. Alex Moi (KTM) 116
7. Walter Kuria (KTM)73
8. Elunga Malungu (YAM)46
9. Mohamed Ovich Anwar (YAM) 41
1. Apollo Mbuki (HON) 216
2. Ivan Guya (KTM) 175
3. Isaac Izo Kuria (YAM) 170
4. Samir Sherman (KTM) 51
5= David Brown (YAM)45
5= Tim Jessop (KTM) 45
7. Muthandi Wanjigi (YAM)33
8. Ian Chesterman (KTM)30
9. Andre Antoine (KTM) 13
1. Tim Jessop (KTM)120
2. Phillipe Guiton (KTM) 96
3. Ian Chesterman (KTM) 58
4. David Brown (KTM) 51
Via Samson Ateka

KCB Eldoret Rally 2015 Map Itienary


kcb rally
Eldoret Rally Update
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eldoret rally

Entry List:
1. Rajbir Rai/Tim Challen (Ford Fiesta R5)
2. Ian Duncan/Amaar Slatch (EVOX)
3. Carl ‘Flash’ Tundo/Tim Jessop (Evo9)
4. Jaspreet Chatthe/Gurdeep Gugu Panesar (EVOX)
5. Manvir Baryan/Drew Sturrock -UK(Ford Fiesta
6. Tapio Laukkanen/Pasi Torma (Subaru GVB13)
7. Raaji Bharij/Jasneil Ghataure (EVO9)
8. Jas Mangat/David Israel(EVOX)
9. Alastair Cavenagh/Gavin Laurence (Proton
10. Karan Patel/Taussef Khan (EVOX)
11. Pavit Kenth/Raju Sehmi (Evoi9)
12. Jasmeet Chana/Ravi Chana (EVO9)
13. Pierro Canobio/Silvia Frigo (EVOX)
14. Dennis Mwenda/Job Njiru (EVO9)
15. Amaanraj Rai/Kavit Dave (EVOX)
16. Frank Tundo/Tariq Malik (EVO9)
17. Farhaaz Khan/Riyaz Ismail (EVO9)
18. Steve Mwangi/Steve Nyorri (Subaru N10)
19. Steve Gacheru/TBA (Subaru N10)
20. Asad Khan ‘Kalulu’/Mwangi Kioni (Subaru N10)
21. Ghalib Hajee/Bharat Patni (EVOX)
22. Kirit Rajput/Shameer Ole Yusuf (Lexus LX570)
23. Mahesh Halai/Ketan Dinesh Halai (Subaru
24. Don Smith/ Bob Kaugi (Subaru)
25. Dilraj Chatthe/Dave Sihoka (EVO9 R4)
26. Murage Waigwa/Tuta Mionki (Subaru GC8)
27. James Kirimi/Evans Mwenda (Subaru GC8)
28. Eric Bengi/Tony Gikuhi (RunX)
29. George Njoroge/Linet Ayuko (Subaru)
30. Paras Pandya/Flagun Bhojak (Subaru N10)
31. Hussein Malik/Absalom Aswani (EVO6)
32. Rob Hellier/Douglas Rundgren (Datsun 160J)
33. Sammy Nyorri/Edward Njoroge (RunX)
34. Natasha Tundo/Chantal Young (Subaru N10)
35. Aslam Khan/Farhaarn Khan (Porsche Carrera
36. Chandrakant Devji/ Julius Mwachuya (Subaru)
37. Alex Lairang’i/Anthony Gichohi (Toyota
Sprinter GT)
38. Leo Varese/Kigo Kareithi (Toyota Corolla RSI)
39. Bhupinder Sagoo (Raju)/Azhar Bhatti (Toyota
Ceres 1600cc2WD)
40. Nikhil Sachannia/Salim Khan (Fiat Abarth
41. Gurmit Thethy/Harshil Limbani (VW Golf MK3)
42. Geoff Mayes/Laban Cliff (Toyota Levine) 43.
Navdeep Sandhu/Mohammed Salim (Subaru Leone)
44. Kimaru Boit/Albert Kigen (Toyota Celica)
45. Imran Khan/Mohammed Kana (Toyota Levin)
46. Miten Lodha/Kimeli Korir (Subaru N10)
47. Edward Maina/John Ngugi (Subaru GC8)
48. Jansher Sandhu/Faisal Khan (EVO9)
49. Nadeem Kana/James Mwangi (Subaru GC8)

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+254 703 164 165
+254 731 412 006

Joginder Singh A.K.A The Flying Sikh A.K.A Simba Ya Kenya


If anyone in East Africa achieved the status of a national hero through motor rallying, it was undoubtedly Joginder Singh. He was not only the first Asian driver ever to win an international rally but also the first man to win the Safari three times. His tally of 19 finishes in 22 Safari starts is unique: a record of consistency in ‘the world’s toughest rally’ that will probably never be beaten.
Sardar Joginder Singh Bhachu was born on 9th February 1932 at Kericho in Kenyan in the western highlands. His father Sardar Battan Singh came to Kenya in the 1920’s from Village Kandola Kalan, near NurMahal in the district of Jullundur, Punjab. His mother’s name was Sardarni Swaran Kaur. Joginder Singh was the eldest of eight sons and two sisters and was educated at a boarding school at Nairobi. But engineering was already in his blood as he was able to drive an old 1930s Chevrolet by the time he was 13.
He worked as a spanner boy in his father’s garage and later moved onto work with larger motor companies and in 1958 became the first patrolman for the Royal East African Automobile Association armed with a fearsome 650cc BSA motorcycle and sidecar. Upto the age of 26 he had no experience of motor sport. His father was a fast car driver, perhaps some of that had rubbed off on his son but it was probably Joginder Singh’s mechanical sympathy and meticulous car preparation that were to have the biggest influence on his future rally career.
1965 1970 & 1975 Kenyan Rally Champion:
1966 1967 1969 1970 & 1975
Motor Sportsman of Year:
1970 & 1976
Won over 60 East African Championship
Rallies in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.
Southern Cross Australia:
5th (1970) 4th (1973) 2nd (1974)
overall in Mitubishi
Acropolis Rally Greece:
9th (1966) overall in Volvo


The PV went from strength to strength, winning our own RAC rally, in probably the fastest Volvo driver Tom Trana’s hands in 1963 and 1964. It was a bit outdated, as a rally car by then but in the correct hands was still a winner on rough, tough, loose surface events. The best PV story of all I think is of Joginder and his brother Jaswant Singh’s 1965 East Coronation Safari win. Volvo had taken four cars to Kenya in 1964 for tracks. It was accepted as the hardest event in the calendar. The cars arrived too late that year and could not be tested under African conditions and for a variety of reasons they all failed to finish. Volvo did not take all the cars back to Sweden with them but left one for Joginder Singh to rally in Africa for the rest of the year. During this time he modified the PV and strengthened it where necessary and lowered the axle ratio. The car had covered 42,000 miles mostly under rally conditions. Joginder’s intention was to enter the 1965 Safari Rally. The story has a fairy tale ending, they won by 100 minutes. You can perhaps imagine the headlines in the papers – “Safari won in a second hand car.” Joginder won again, but not in a Volvo, in 1974 and 1976 just to show that the driver had a fair bit to do with the result. Any of you lucky enough to attend a PV Register meeting a few years ago at the Shuttle worth Trust in Bedfordshire would have been able to see Joginder and his beloved PV (KHT 184) now immaculate in its original white paint.
I just wonder if any of the old works cars are still in existence and just what modifications the factory used in those no holds barred Group 6 events like the Alpine and Liege. The 1961 Homologation papers show four wheel disc brakes as well as the Joginder Singh inspired four damper front suspension set up. Did they ever use two twin choke Weber or Solex carburetors as offered by the Volvo R Sport in any events? It would not surprise me and I would love to know. I list below the production records and model changes – these taken and other material from Andrew Whyte s book the “Volvo 1800 and Family.”

joginders beetle
joginder singh
Twenty-one years after the first rally was run to mark the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953, the East African Safari Rally remains unique-an amalgam of gruelling conditions and lOOkph average speeds through ideal, sparsely-populated country unrivalled elsewhere in the world.
True, it now has its competitors. In Africa, the Ethiopian Highland Rally and the Moroccan Rally duplicate some of the features of the Safari; they may, indeed, siphon off a few of the would-be entrants from the East African event. They can never match its unique character.
Motoring News has called it “the most exacting test for man and machine yet devised in the world of rallying.” And world automobile manufacturers from Detroit to Japan have been quick to note that success in the Safari is inevitably reflected in a rise in the sales graphs of a market far wider than just East Africa.
How did it all start ? Kenyans have long taken an interest in motor sport, and fifty years ago the Royal East African Automobile Association had 1,000 members (83-2% of all car owners in 1921). The Association-now the AA of East Africa and responsible for the management of the Safari-had been founded in 1919 by L.D.Galton-Fenzi.
Galton-Fenzi pioneered the Nairobi-Mombasa route driving a 1926 Riley. The trip took 15 days, and from Voi to Mackinnon Road a track had to be hacked from the bush. He carried out other surveys; Nairobi to Dodoma and on to what was Nyasaland and in 1931 across Africa to Lagos, through the Sahara to London.
In 1936, a road race through the core of Africa from Nairobi to Johannesburg was staged, 2,715 miles of route that had been largely pioneered by Galton-Fenzi. In a forward to the route notes and maps for that race, he noted, “the marvellous strides made in recent years as regards road construction and road maintenance.” It was a fortnight’s drive from Cape Town to Nairobi.
The connection between those early days and the present East African Safari Rally is tenuous, but real. In 1950 two Nairobi businessmen, Neil and Donald Vincent, had set a new record for the Nairobi -Cape Town-Nairobi run. Later approached by their cousin Eric Cecil, at that time chairman of the competitions committee of the REAAA, to race at Langa Langa they were unenthusiastic.
The Langa Langa (present-day Gilgil) track utilised the perimeter roads of a World War II military camp, providing a testing 3-3 mile circuit. Cecil was preoccupied with boosting interest in the track, but the Vincents were non-committal. Instead, it is recorded, they made the alternative suggestion that a long-distance drive such as they had undertaken the previous year presented a greater challenge than going round and round a track.
So the idea of the Safari was born. Cecil recalls that he thought initially in terms of a road race around Lake Victoria, a proposition shelved when it was realised that seasonal flooding in parts of northern Tanzania rendered this impracticable.
Eventually various schemes and suggestions jelled. The Safari, to be run over roads in the three East African states of Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, became a reality in 1953. It was staged over the holidays that marked the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.
Regulations were as brief and simple as possible. There were only eight controls-compared to the 57 control points in the 18th Safari of 1970-and there was no provision for rest en route. Classification of the strictly standard production saloon cars was by showroom price rather than engine capacity.
safari rally
Right from the start, the organisers had their paid members in mind and were out to prove just what value the new car buyer was getting for his money. Not even strengthening of the vital suspension that inevitably took a tremendous pounding on the East African roads of two decades ago was allowed.
The changes in the intervening years have been considerable. The team of four Ford Escort RS 1600s which won the manufacturers’ team award in the 1972 Safari were fitted with heavy-duty suspension, long-range fuel tanks, full underbody protection against pos-sible severe damage by rocks and competition brakes.
Each car was fitted with “roo bars” in the event of possible collision with wild animals and the now compulsory roll bars. The Ford service manager put the preparation cost of each car at £8,000 and a fleet of service vehicles and co-ordinating service plane may have added £20,000 to the bill.
joginder singh
But the 1953 method of classification by showroom price was retained right up until 1959, with the internationally recognised categorisation by engine capacity being introduced the following year. A price/performance index was calculated from 1961, although in recent years this lost much of its credibility and has since lapsed.
That inaugural year, and in fact for several years thereafter, no advertising was allowed on the cars as compared with the present day regulations which emphatically state: “Advertising on competing cars is specifically encouraged.” A colourful form of sponsorship made necessary to offset the increased cost of the Safari over the years.
Of the eventual 57 starters in that first Coronation Safari-the nomenclature was changed in 1960 to East African Safari and five years later to the present title of East African Safari Rally-some 28 were trade entries, although probably a considerable percentage of the so-called “private” entries also had trade backing. The entry fee was only Sh. 100 per car, which has since escalated to Sh. 1,500 for normal entries and double that for late inclusions.
Three separate starting points eventually proved necessary for the first Safari, plans to rail Tanzanian entrants’ cars to Kampala for a single mass start having proved abortive. This “Monte Carlo” type start to the rally was retained for the next year’s event, but thereafter Nairobi was the start-finish point until 1970.
From 1963, the Governments of the other independent East African states were reluctant to allow Kenya to cream-off the considerable benefits that accrued from starting the Safari each year, and Tanzania in particular made persistent efforts to induce the organisers to start the rally from Dar es Salaam.
In 1969, matters came to a head, and the Tanzania Government ruled that the rally would not be allowed to enter Tanzanian territory. A route taking in only Kenya and Uganda was devised, with Nairobi the starting point. Next year the Safari start and finish was moved to Kampala.
Meanwhile, a reconciliation between the organisers and the Tanzanian Government had been brought about, and although the Safari reverted in 1971 to the traditional Nairobi start, the following year it was the turn of Dar es Salaam.
It now appears likely that the starting point of the rally will rotate between the three East African capitals, although for 1973-the year of the Safari’s majority-Nairobi has again been selected as the start-finish venue. For organisational reasons, the route does not include Uganda.
42 of the 57 starters in 1953 opted to set off from Nairobi, with eight chosing Kampala and seven Morogoro. Unlike current Safari starts, from a ramp at two minute intervals, there was a mass start from each of the three centres. Conditions throughout were atrociously wet and muddy. “Typical” Safari weather!
Few competitors had the time or foresight to carry out a reconnaissance of the route, a now essential feature with the modern navigator of the genre of Henry Liddon, Chris Bates and Bev Smith compiling copious, detailed notes of every aspect of the route.
But even in that first Safari it was obvious that one crew was capitalising on a pre-rally recce and detailed preparation of their Chevrolet-John Manussis and John Boyes. They motored confidently to the finish for a Class D win.
Manussis, one of the Safari’s great characters, had to wait until 1961 to register the outright victory he sought for so many years. Utterly nerveless, he is on record as once telling Lucille Cardwell when she expressed a wish to get out of his car: “Lucy, if you
jump out now you will surely be killed. If you stay with me you have a 50-50 chance!”
Incredibly, Alan Dix-later to become Managing Director of Volkswagen Great Britain-and his co-driver J.W. Larsen motored their Volkswagen into the Nairobi finish just 17 minutes behind schedule and first of 10 finishers to reach the capital.A further 17 crews to reach Voi 200 miles from Nairobi were also classed as finishers. Volkswagens won the manufacturers’ team prize.
Intrigued by the challenge of this novel event, there were 50 starters the next year from Nairobi, Dar es Salaam and Kampala, covering much the same route as in 1953. That had been a road race. The organisers introduced a compulsory rest stop in 1954 and drastically reduced the required average speed schedules to 36 mph for Class A and progressively one mile an hour more for the next three classes.
Not suprisingly, 28 crews (of which three were later disqualified) finished within the time allowed, half of this number without incurring a single penalty point. The organisers devised an acceleration/ braking test as a tie breaker. Eventually this took place outside the Nairobi City Hall following a heavy rain storm, having been moved from the Nairobi show-ground (now Jamhuri Park).
Ironically, the Vincent brothers who put up the best performance and two other crews were dis-qualified for exceeding the 30 mph speed limit in the built-up area of Nairobi. Vie Preston and D.P. Marwaha (Volkswagen), third in this thoroughly unsatisfactory test, were declared the winners.
Next year’s event was run under FIA rules and a RAC permit. Compulsory rest stops were increased to four, the distance to 2,510 miles and the number of controls en route to 11. Penalty points were imposed on final scrutineering of the vehicle at the finish, as they still are for minor faults today.
Vie Preston and D.P. Marwaha won the Safari outright, this time in a Ford Zephyr. Their second overall and third class victory. They were first of 28 finishers from 58 starters, and once again the ubiquitous Volkswagens won the manufacturers’ team award for the third successive year.
78 cars, the highest number of finishers in any Safari completed the 1956 rally, a dry, dusty affair with the 13 finishers who had “cleaned” the route without a single penalty point undergoing a track test over one lap of the Nakuru Park circuit to decide the issue.
This was the second and last time that an extraneous test had to be used to adjudge the outcome of the Safari. The Nakuru track test, to a predeter-mined formula, favoured the smaller cars as did the tight circuit where the long-wheel based cars were handicapped when cornering.
Eric Cecil and Tony Vickers’ lap time in a DKW for 1 min 45-6 sec (the vastly more experienced race driver Jim Heather-Hayes in a Mercedes 220A was 5-1 sec faster) gave them overall victory, and Simca won the manufacturers’ award, the first French marque to do so.
Run under a FIA permit, the 3,300 mile 1957 Safari was the first to achieve international status. But as in previous years there was not a single overseas competitor and the rally was still very much a parochial affair. “Gus” Hofmann and A.A.N. Burton took the premier spot and spearheaded the Volkswagens to the manufacturers’ team prize for the fourth time. There were 19 finishers, with the rally being held for the first time (and traditionally since) over the Easter Holiday.
A threatened boycott by the motor trade before the start, a furore mid-way over the imposition of penalty points when 45 cars were caught in two speed traps at Tanga and the decimation of the survivors on the 92-mile stretch from Mbale to Suam River Bridge on the second leg made this an unhappy Safari for organisers and competitors alike.
The sealing of vital components had been introduced in 1957, and the next year’s provisional results were not confirmed until November following a protest to the RAC when the seals on the front suspension of the class-leading Ford Anglia and Ford Zephyr were found to be broken.
Initially penalised 2,000 and 1,000 points respectively, this decision was rescinded following an appeal to the Stewards who concluded that the seals had not been deliberately tampered with. Whereupon, the Mercedes and Volkswagen entrants lodged a counter protest.. A special tribunal re-imposed the penalties, but the RAC arbitrators ruled the seals were inherently technically weak and confirmed the Anglia and Zephyr in their class wins.
Although noteworthy for the inclusion of the first-ever overseas entries and the first all-African crews, 1958 was indubitably a non-vintage year, for although there were 54 finishers no overall winner was declared for the first and last time in the history of the Safari: E. M. Temple-Boreham/M. P. Armstrong (Auto Union) won the Leopard Class with 150 penalty points, an identical score with Lion Class leaders A.R. and K.M. Kopperud (Zephyr) around whom the great seals protest had raged. Volkswagen won the manufacturers’ team award for the fifth time.
Overseas interest continued for the 1959 event, won by Jack Ellis with his step-son Bill Fritschy as co-driver in a Mercedes 219, first of three outright victories for Mercedes. They repeated this feat the following year for the “double”, Fritschy failed to achieve a unique three-in-a-row in 1961 by just five minutes.
As it is, no-one has yet won the Safari three times, although Vie Preston/D.P. Marwaha (1954/55), “Nick” Nowicki/Paddy Cliff (1963*68), Bert Shank-land/Chris Rothwell (1966/67) and Edgar Herrmann/ Hans Schuller (1970/71) are other crews to have achieved the double.
Taking no chances on a repeat of the 1958 rumpus over seals, the organisers in 1959 not only redrafted the regulations but supplemented the seals with a special yellow, radio-active paint. A Geiger counter reading taken on application was checked after the rally making the replacement of components without detection virtually impossible.
Overseas interest in the 1959 rally was considerable with (as detailed elsewhere) the British motoring Press strongly represented in Tommy Wisdom, a member of the winning Ford team in 1961, Court-enay Edwards and Peter Gamier of Autocar. Richard Bensted Smith, later editor of Motor, drove the following year with Peter Hughes for a class win.The Safari was filmed for British television in 1960, and BBC, ITV and Visnews have provided subsequent coverage. Upward of 100 overseas journalists now cover the event for newspapers, motoring magazines, radio and television around the world.
The Ellis/Fritschy combination triumphed again in 1960, one of the wettest Safaris on record. Wide-spread flooding in Tanzania necessitated changes of route even before the start. Ford won the manufact-urers’ team award for the second successive year, and included in the winning team were Coupe des Dames winners Lucille Cardwell and Anne Hall in a Ford Zephyr.
The 1962 Safari ushered in the Pat Moss-Eric Carlsson era; two of the record 33 overseas drivers competing in the tenth rally of the series. East African fans took them enthusiastically to their hearts. Pat Moss came within an ace of an outright win at her first attempt, but Kiambu coffee farmer Tommy Fjastad and B. Schmider came through for yet another Volkswagen success.
In 1963, the Safari’s reputation was further en-hanced when included for the first time as a qualifying rally in the RAC manufacturers’ world rally champion-ship. It was a year notable, too, for the first Japanese factory entered cars-in the years ahead to play such a decisive role in the rally.
Freak weather conditions again tested the elasticity of the Safari organisation to the full, with only seven of the 84 starters struggling back to the finish. Polish-born, long-time Kenya resident “Nick” Nowicki and Paddy Cliff were the outright winners in a Peugeot 404, and were to underscore their mastery of these muddy marathons when they won the 1968 Safari, again first of seven finishers from a field of 91.
Second were Peter Hughes and Billy Young in a Ford Anglia, a disappointment they erased from their memories the following year with outright victory in the 1964 rally driving a Ford Cortina GT. Team-wise, that year proved another Ford benefit, with the Cortina’s securing the manufacturers’ award.
Brothers Joginder and Jaswant Singh made Safari history in 1965 when they motored their second-hand Volvo PV 544 into first place overall, and became the first all-Asian crew to achieve an international rally success. They had a tremendous welcome from a huge partisan crowd, having drawn first place and main-taining premier spot virtually all the way to the finish.
The mass start of the first year had given way in 1954 to the interval start, with the smaller cars the first away. The starting order was reversed in 1958 and the next year, and in 1960 the organisers ex-perimented with an unrestricted ballot for starting positions irrespective of size or class.
This was varied from 1961 to 1963, when a ballot was held for starting order in the individual classes with the smaller cars starting first. The next year this was further changed by the addition of a ballot for starting order between the classes.The straight all-in ballot came back into favour in1965 for two years, but then in 1967 the seeded start (into groups depending on competition success in the preceding year, experience and competence) was introduced. This has been retained up-to-date. A ballot is held for order of start within the groups. The record of the “Flying Sikh” in the Safari is outstanding. Born in Kericho, Joginder was in 1965 the East African rally champion, winning outright the Uganda Rally and Tanzania 1000 as well as the Safari. Entered in every Safari since 1959, he has failed to finish only once, in 1972.
Tanzanians Bert Shankland and Chris Rothwell in 1966 were the first non-Kenya based crew ever to win the Safari, taking first position overall in a Peugeot 404. This was no flash-in-the-pan success, as they demonstrated the following year, giving this French marque its third win in five years.
But Fords won the manufacturers’ team award both years, and Soderstrom and Palm in a Cortina Lotus made all the running in the 1967 Safari, looking for the first 2,000 miles as if they would achieve the history-making feat of being the first overseas crew to win. Luck was against them.
President Kenyatta flagged away the first cars of the 1968 rally, with Nowicki and Cliff first of the “Unsinkable Seven” to make it back to the Nairobi finish. As the cars headed north into the night, the rains broke some six weeks earlier than usual and turned the route into one of the toughest and most hazardous ever.
The weather had taken an early toll within 150 miles of the start, with 18 cars enmired on the approaches to the Mau Escarpment in atrocious conditions. Cars continued to drop out or were time-barred. Only seven of the 21 cars which started on the southern leg survived. No manufacturers’ team finished.
Conversely, dust was the major hazard of the mile-a-minute 1969 rally. Jock Aird, a Nakuru farming contractor, and Robin Hillyar won in a Ford 20M after Soderstrom and Palm had again looked to be heading for that elusive overseas victory until a broken differential put them out. Bunching was introduced, adding greatly to the control and spectator appeal of the event.
But an acrimonious dispute arose at the finish. It was found on scrutineering that the winning car differed in material particulars (namely that the exhaust valves were three millimetres larger) from details given in the homologation sheets.
Runners up Joginder Singh and Bharat Bhardwaj protested to the Safari Stewards who, however, noted that there was a satisfactory explanation and that a clerical error by Ford of Cologne was responsible. An appeal to the RAG was contemplated as a challenge to the validity of the Stewards’ decision, but was not proceeded with.
It was a frustrating Safari for Vic Preston and Bob Gerrish. Eliminated in 1968 by their failure to obtain the relevant stamp at a control, they were within 600 miles of the finish in the 1969 event when outright victory slipped from their grasp yet again. Twice, in 1966 and 1967, this formidable duo had been second overall.
Atrocious conditions characterised the 1970 rally, with speeds of more than 100 mph called for on some sections. For the first time, the Safari started and finished outside Kenya, at Kampala.
For Malindi hotelier Edgar Herrmann eight years of endeavour were rewarded when he took first place overall driving a Datsun 1600SSS with Hans Schuller after what the East African Standard called “an immaculate drive which must rank as one of the greatest in Safari history.”
However, the rally was marred by the unfortunate death of a former Ugandan Army captain David Ndahura who was driving with Ismail Sebbi. He was swept away and drowned when his Peugeot 404 was marooned on the flooded Tiva Bridge near Kitui in the Kenya section of the rally.
But fatalities in the Safari, despite the speed and ruggedness of the country through which it is run, have proved gratifyingly few. The first occured in 1957 when Somakraj and Charlie Safi failed to negotiate a corner leading up to the Ruvu River bridge in Tanzania and plunged into the flooded river and drowned.
In 1971, Nairobi University lecturer Cyrus Kamundia of Nyeri was killed while on a pre-Safari recce with co-driver G. Gichuru in Tanzania, and the preceding year a Japanese service crewman died in a crash before the Safari. The tragic exceptions to an unusually fatality-free rally.
Safety belts were made compulsory in 1962, and the roll bar in more recent years. Both have con-tributed to preventing serious injury on many occasions, as has the strength of the modern all-steel body. For “prangs” in the Safari have been numerous.
A record entry of 118 cars made 1971 another milestone in the history of the Safari, which covered an all-time high of 6,400 km. Overseas and African entries were also the highest on record. Again it was Herrmann and Schuller, this time paired in the potent Datsun 240Z, who gained outright victory.
Bjorn Waldegaard and Sobieslaw Zasada were ahead of the field as the cars headed into Uganda, and with three-quarters of the rally run, Waldegaard had a 23 minute lead and looked set to break the jinx on overseas drivers.
But he crashed his Porsche trying to overtake his team-mate Zasada, who was only 200 miles from the finish when his Porsche developed intermittent engine trouble which the Stuttgart mechanics were unable to correct and he gradually dropped back through the field for eventual fifth place overall.
So near yet so far. . . the inevitable overseas victory which had eluded allcomers for so long was eventually achieved in 1972. Hannu Mikkola and Gunnar Palm raced their Ford Escort RS1600 into the Dar es Salaam finish for an historic overall win and another manufacturers’ team prize for the British marque.
For the first time the Safari started and finished in the Tanzanian capital, the first cars being nagged away by President Julius Nyerere. 18 of the 83 starters finished, with Anne Taieth and Sylvia King Coupe des Dames winners in a Datsun 1600-the first all-women crew to complete the Safari since 1968.
The Safari stands alone as the sole international example of its kind, the most difficult rally in the world. An almost parochial affair at the start, it has matured over two decades into one of the great motoring events on the world calendar. Truly, the Safari has come of age.

Datsun And The Hardest Rally On Earth, The East African Safari Rally


Safari rally
The East African Safari Rally is considered one of the most, if not the most, grueling auto race in the world. It was, and still is to some extent, the testing ground for reliability in production cars. Up to 90 percent of the cars entered in the race never finish.

The course itself has varied from year to year, averaging from 3100 to or 4000 miles in length, originally travelling though Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda. Since 1974, the rally has stayed within the borders of Kenya due to political unrest in the other countries. Nairobi is traditionally the start and finish point for the rally, as well as often being the midpoint where the rally’s big loop stages meet.

So what makes this race so tough?

First there’s the hazards of wildlife and farm animals on the course. Then there’s the earth of Africa itself, which comes in every size and type, from a fine dust that clogs cars and blinds drivers in its huge clouds, to bowling ball sized boulders that punish both drivers and suspension components in equal measure. African roads are not for the squeamish.

But these things are found on every rally course, right?

True you can find some of these condition on some rally courses, but the Safari Rally has one thing that the other rallies really don’t; Rain.

The race is held on the Easter long weekend which falls somewhere between the end of March and the middle of April. This also generally coincides with the beginning of the rainy season. When I say rain, I don’t mean your average April shower, we’re talking about river-swelling, road flooding, mud sliding Rain with a capital R. Rain and red African earth combine to form Mud. This is no mud puddle mud, this is a slicker than ice gumbo that sinks cars like quicksand in bad weather, and dries hard like stucco in the sun. You might as well put axle grease on your tires. Rain and mud have not only claimed the vast majority of cars lost in the Safari rally, but the lives of a few drivers and spectators as well. Rain is the wildcard in the Safari.

And you can’t really prepare for it. Some years the course is dry allowing lots of teams to finish. Other years the course has been so badly flooded that stages have to be re-routed or cancelled outright and teams have slogged for hours over a section that should have taken minutes. Rallys are run on time, and if you fall too far behind, you’re out of the race.

The Safari Rally started out in 1953 as the Coronation Rally, named in honor of Queen Elizabeth. Early competing makes included Volkswagen(beetle), Mercedes, Ford(zephyr), Opel, Austin, Peugeot, Tatra, Fiat, and Ford. Drivers originally started out at three different locations, and finished in Nairobi. This was soon scrapped in favor of a single route for all competitors.

The rally was renamed the East African Safari Rally in 1960 and kept that name until 1973 when it became the Safari Rally. Marlboro sponsored the event for a number of years in the 80’s and their name was added to the title.

Nissans’ participation in this rally goes back to 1963. They couldn’t have picked a worse year to make a debut; the weather was horrendous. A factory team was entered with a pair of 311 Bluebird sedans, one of them co-driven by Wakabayashi and Jack Esnouf. Wakabayashi, known as “Waka” to friends and competitors, would go on to become the safari team manager for Nissan during its most successful years. 1963 became known as the year of “The Magnificent Seven”, with only 7 cars out of 84 starters finishing the 3088 mile race that ran through torrential downpours and flooded sections of Kenya, Uganda, and Tanganyika. Nick Nowicki ended up winning in his Peugeot 404, but anyone who made it to the finish line was touted as a winner and a hero that year. Neither team Datsun finished.
Despite the hellish conditions of the previous year, Nissan came back to the Safari in ’64 with Cedrics. Entered in class D, a Cedric driven by John Jeeves and G Alexander came in 21st overall, second to last of the finishing cars, with last place being reserved for future Nissan works driver Joginder Singh and his Mercury Comet. Ford won the team prize that year with Hughes and Young coming first overall in their Cortina GT.

Although 20th might seem bad, just to finish the Safari was a triumph of driving and machinery for Nissan and its team. Lots of other manufacturers must’ve thought the same; the 1964 Safari was probably the best attended and supported up to that point, due to the benchmark of toughness set by the ’63 Rally. If your car could finish the East African Safari Rally, then it was tough enough to do anything.

Joginder Singh would win the ’65 Safari in spectacular style, taking a PV544 left behind by Volvo after the ’64 race, and winning by 100 minutes on the road. Singh and his brother Jaswant bought the car from the local volvo dealer, rebuilt the car themselves, and entered it privately. With the help of lots of local amateur support, Singh and Singh beat the pants off all the works teams. The team prize would go to Peugeot with its team of 404’s. 85 cars started, but only 16 finished, Nissan did not finish for the second time in 3 years.

The weather didn’t cooperate in 1966 either, with mud and rain being the predominant course feature. Nissan pulled off a bit of an achievement, winning the B class for cars 1001-1300 cc’s. A pair of Bluebird p411’s driven by the teams of JL Greenly and JHP Dunk, and by Jock Aird and Robin Hillyar came in 5th and 6th overall and first and second in class. More importantly, both cars completed the course in a race that 88 cars entered and only 9 finished. The race saw another first as Tanzanians Bert Shankland and Chris Rothwell became the first non-Kenyans to win the Rally.

Shankland and Rothwell would win again in their Peugeot in a much drier 1967 Safari Rally. Datsun returned with a team of Cedric 2000’s, a bulkier car that didn’t perform nearly as well as the earlier Bluebirds. Aird and Hillyar finished 17th overall, followed by Mockridge and Jack Esnouf in 20th and the husband wife team of Jack and Lucille Cardwell in 21st. Not bad considering over half the 91 cars that started the race actually finished it. 1967 was also the first year in a Datsun for the man who would bring the Datsun team fame in a couple years: German driver Edgar Herrmann. Herrmann and co-driver Gerd Elvers lasted less than one stage before encountering severe mechanical difficulties.

safari rally

The Cedrics were back for 68, with the team of Joginder Singh and Bev Smith placing 5th, and the girl power team of Mrs. Lucy Cardwell and Mrs. Gerry Davies coming in 7th and winning the Coupe des Dames. The fact that only 7 cars out of 93 finished the race (all class C cars) may put the results in a bit better light. Singh actually led the race until Himo, but got badly stuck in the mud. Being first cost him as all the other cars found a way around his mud hole to go on ahead. He still managed to cross the finish line in a year that saw another “Magnificent Seven” finishers.

Lucy Cardwell and Gerry Davies had quite an adventure on their rally. First they lost their timecard, only to have it returned just in time by a spectator. Then while running dead last, Lucy tried to charge through a muddy section that all the other cars had had to be towed through. She slid the Cedric off the road and sunk it in a swamp halfway up the doors, then had to wait 20 minutes as the Landrover that had pulled the other teams through in seconds, left to go refuel. Then the two women were almost disqualified in a bizarre incident at a checkpoint. They were still running dead last and far back at the time and were told by the Head Official at the Chilinzi time control that they were too late to continue. He refused to stamp their card so they could go on. No amount of pleading or crying would change the officials mind, so in desperation Gerry grabbed the stamp from the official, stamped her timecard and roared off in the car, the first offical “mugging” in rally history. Only later would the girls find out they’d made a brave choice as time limits had been extended due to road conditions. They would make it to Nairobi 20 hours behind schedule to a heroes welcome, becoming the lucky seventh members of 1968’s Magnificent Seven.

The ’69 rally was limited to Kenya and Uganda due to problems with the Tanzanian government. The race was lead most of the way by the battling teams of Soderstom and Palm in a Ford 20m who would break an axle near the end, and Preston and Garrish in a Cortina that would meet its maker in the form of a bridge abutment. This left lead drivers Robin Hillyar(Ford), and Joginder Singh(Volvo) to fight it out at the finish.

Hillyar won by a hair, or so it seemed. At the end of the race, Hillyars car was found to have much larger valves than specified, a breach of the rules. Ford protested claiming they’d registered the change with FIA thus making it a legal one. Singh waited to find out if he’d won the rally and Ford waited for a telex that would prove thier case. It came, but Ford wasn’t off the hook yet. Those pesky valves were even larger than the size they’d specified in the change, making them slighly illigal. Singh lodged a protest, but later withdrew it when ford claimed the valves had stretched due to the wear and tear of the race, a pretty fishy arguement at best, but one Singh didn’t have the patience to fight.

1969 was also the dawn of a new era at the rally for Nissan, the 510 era. Not only did the team of Jamil Din and Maksood Minhas finish 3rd overall, they lead a SSS510 contingent that swept 6 of the top 13 spots, and more importantly the top 6 spots in their class! Though he came in second in class to Din(and was beaten by former Nissan drivers Singh and Hillyar) the real story of the rally was the performance of Edgar Herrmann.
Herrmann was originally supposed to race for Porsche that year, but just before the rally was to start, the Porsche team withdrew from competition. Herrmann and co-driver Hans Schuller were left to fend for themselves. Fortunately for Herrmann he was still in good favor with the Datsun team. Thinking that Herrmann might keep his Porsche starting position of 3rd, the Datsun team agreed to let Herrmann and Schuller have one of their battered practice cars, a 510sss. The race officials declared Herrmann and his Datsun as a completely new entry and put him at the back of the pack in 90th place.

Knowing that they would have to eat dust for the entire race, Herrmann and Schuller took extremely detailed pace notes (the navigators guide to the course). They ripped through the competition, all the while driving basically blind in the dust, improving their position to 52 by the 6th control point, 32nd place by the 13th post, and an astounding 14th place by the halfway mark.

Din/Minhas and Herrmann/Schuller took the top two spots in Class D (1301-1600cc). the teams arrived at the finish 3rd and 4th on the road and 5th and 6th overall on points. The Manufacturers team prize went to Nissans second team of Randall/Parkinson, Greenly/Collinge, and Saunders/Peating after Nissan A team’s third man Jack Simonian wrecked his 510 just 10 minutes into the first stage to Kampala, “A bank came out and hit me!” he joked.

Herrmann remarked that the 510-practice car had been unbelievably reliable: “we didn’t have to lift a screwdriver”. His performance guaranteed him a ride with Datsun in the following years rally.

The rally is full of colorful stories, and the 69 rally was no different. One driver failed to stop at a stop sign and was disqualified at the finish for it. Future Nissan team driver Rauno Aaltonen, a rally driver of much success had one of the worst and disturbingly funny rally experiences that year. He and co driver Henry Liddon crashed their Lancia near the start, shattering the windshield. The body was too twisted to fit a new one, so they then drove 1700 miles without one. By the time they finished the cars interior, and its two drivers, were caked in dead birds and insects.

The 1970 East African Safari Rally covered 3300 miles and crossed Kenya and Uganda, running at elevations from sea level to 10,000 feet. Herrmann and Schuller drew the number 4 spot for their 510SSS. Joginder Singh and Bharat Bhardwaj, and Din and Mughal drove the other two Datsun team 510’s. A total of 28 Datsuns, mostly 510’s, entered the race.

The rally started in Kampala, Uganda and finished back there 5 days later. It was raining right off the start. 16 cars burst into an earl lead pack, including 4 Datsun 510’s, 3 Fords, 4 Peugeots and just about one of everything else.
Aaltonen lead early on in a Ford, Jack Simonian second in a 510, and then Zasada in another Porsche. Shekhar Mehta was there too, but the used Datsun 510 he’d bought from dealer Simonian blew on the first day. His driving did attract the attention of Nissan, garnering him a ride in 1971 after Joginder Singh left the Works team.

Herrmann and Schuller’s run across western Kenya was pretty uneventful, but things took an ugly twist as the cars climbed the 4000foot Chesoi escarpment. Their 510 lost traction in the mud on the steep slippery slopes and had to crawl up the hills as other cars past them. By the time they made it to the first rest stop they were way out of the top 10. Herrmann and Schuller figured they’d blown the rally.

Jack Simonian was even unluckier. After holding down second place for quite a while, he hit a slick patch of mud at 100 mph and slammed his 510 into a bridge parapet, then plunged 20 feet into a gully. He managed to get the car out, fix it a bit, and continue, but at a much slower pace.
Controversy struck as the Lancia team of Sandro Munari and Lofty Drews, the leaders at the time, were disqualified for leaving a checkpoint 30 minutes early. News also reached teams that a driver had been swept to his death in a raging torrent while trying to cross a flood swollen Tiva river.

The rally looped back into Kampala before heading out for the second half of the race. The Nissan team fitted its cars with tire chains for the next difficult stage, a very wise move. Munari continued to lead the race, even though his status was questionable. Tragedy hit however, when his Lancia crashed and rolled about 150 miles out of Kampala. Simonian’s 510 lost oil and blew an engine. The Safari was beginning to eat cars in typical fashion.

By the end of that stage Herrmann and Schuller were back up to second place, with only the Porsche of Polish driver Sobieslav Zasada ahead of them. The Porsche started to pull away from the little Datsun, but as this rally does time and time again, it took its toll on the faster car. The Porsche developed a serious oil leak and dropped out of the race just after crossing back into Uganda.

As other cars behind them fell out, Herrmann and Schuller drove to victory in Kampala 51 minutes ahead of Singh and Bhardwaj in their 510. Din and Mughal took 4 th with Shankland and Rothwell’s Peugeot filling in the third spot. Mike Kirkland in his privately entered 510 came in 7 th in his first Safari attempt.

Once again the 70 rally has those stories that only rallying can provide, like the tale of Dick Barbour and Mike Doughty. They crashed their totally rally prepped Peugeot 504 the day before the event, then walked into the local Peugeot dealer and bought the one off the showroom floor, painted a number on the side and entered it in the race without further modification.

It should be noted that the 510 not only took overall victory in 1970, it also took class victory and manufacturers victory. To demonstrate just how tough this course is, of the 91 cars entered in 1970 – only 19 finished. Of that number 4 of the top 7 cars were 510’s, with 6 Bluebirds finishing in total.

Herrmann and Schuller would repeat the feat in a 240z in 1971. Herrmann and Schuller started in 11 th spot, with teammates Shekhar Mehta and Mike Doughty, and Rauno Aaltonen and Pieter Easter also starting in good spots. 38 Datsuns were entered in the event, mostly 510’s.

The race is once again divided into two halves, both meeting like a Dali’esque figure 8 in Nairobi where the race begins and finishes. The first leg heads towards the Kenyan coast city of Mombasa.
east african safari rally
Aaltonen charged forward in the early running taking the lead as Herrmann ate dust on the first stage to Mombasa. Waldegaard kept close behind Aaltonen in his Porsche. Jack Simonian held on to his 240z steering wheel for dear life as a tire came apart at 130 Mph, knocking him out of the race.

The race turned south into Tanzania for the first time in a few years, political problems keeping that traditional rally country off the course in previous events. Herrmann crawled up to 4 th place by Dar Es Salaam, while Aaltonen broke a suspension piece and let the lead slip to Porsche racer Bjorn Waldegaard, who had started way back in 33 spot. Then to make matters worse, the Datsun team left the gas cap off Aaltonens car and he lost all his fuel.

Herrmann was passed early in the next section by Waldegaard(Waaldegard was already ahead on time, but Herrmann left the stage start point first) , then worked hard to catch up to him on the road back to Nairobi. Herrmann driving the Z at a steady 130MPH managed to pass Blomquist to take 3 rd spot, while Porsche driver Zasada moved up to second, then into first as the teams arrived back in Nairobi.

On the way to Kampala fortune smiled on Herrmann, and gave Waldegaard a taste of the infamous “Safari luck”. First Herrmann was almost penalized by a race marshal’s error, but after much argument the situation was solved by none other than infamous dictator Idi Amin, then president of Uganda who happened o be watching the race at that checkpoint. Amin flagged Herrmann back onto the road without penalty.

Waldegaard wrecked his Porsche while trying to pass his own teammate Zasada who was ahead on the road but behind on time. Zasada didn’t have his radio on, and Waldegaard assumed Zasada had heard his request to be let through. The Porsches crashed badly. After this, Herrmann and Schuller and a 31 minute time lead over the next car, the 240Z of Shekhar Mehta who was actually ahead on the road at this point.

Aaltonen had fallen back, but had not given up. He charged forward again, passing Hermann on the road near Kabale. Then things got worse for Herrmann and Schuller. Herrmann crashed the car after Mehta passed them, breaking a halfshaft on their car. Fortunately Schuller was able to remove it, and thanks to the miracle of limited slip differentials was able to continue on to the next service point. Aaltonen in the other Z broke a halfshaft and fell far back.

Hermann and Schuller still led time wise, but now by only 16 minutes. Now it was Mehta’s turn to shine. Driving in his home country of Uganda, Mehta raced ahead to take Herrmann’s lead down to just one minute overall. Then Mehta took a very small lead after Herrmann crashed heavily, sending his 240z well off the road. It looked if Mehta would go on to win.

Then disaster struck in only a way that the Safari could manage.

Mehta got his 240z stuck in a mud hole near Mount Kenya. 20 minutes later a police Landrover happened along to pull them out. Just as the Landrover unhooked Mehta’s car, Herrmann ran into the same hole and got stuck. The Landrover still had the rope hooked up and pulled Herrmann through with almost no lost time. Mehta was furious. As the 240z’s finally came to a rest in Nairobi, Mehta and Doughty had lost to Herrmann and Schuller by just 3 minutes on the road, more than 6 times the amount of time they lost in the Landrover incident.
safari rally
t was a fantastic finish for Nissan, if not for Mehta. 240z’s finished first, second, and seventh, with privately entered 510’s finishing in 6 of 32 spots. Datsun once again took Class, Overall, and Manufacturers titles.

Mike Kirkland, future works driver, had one of the funniest 1971 rally moments happen to him, or more specifically to his Sicilian co-driver Paulo Coniglio. Mike drove fast, Paulo drove cautiously. Mike was going full boar through a section of Tanzania when the shit hit the fan. Paulo had the passenger side window rolled down as Mike careened through a group of cattle that were standing on the road. The passenger fender of the 510 clipped the ass end of one of the cows, which promptly exploded sending a shower of cow crap along the side of the car, and directly through the window into Paulo’s face. Paulo, a bit of a neat freak, commented later, “We hit zis-a bloody cow. Now my car is smelling of sheet!”. Despite hitting the cow, Kirkland still managed to bring the 510 in 17 th .

The 72 rally saw disaster for Herrmann and Schuller, as their 240z broke 2 halfshafts and finished the race in 5th place, followed by the other 240z team of Aaltonen and Brit Tony Fall, and Mehta in 10th.

40 of 86 entries in the race were Datsuns. The Works team consisted of Herrmann and Schuller, Mehta and Doughty, Aaltonen and Tony Fall, and in the 610(1800) Ove Anderson and John Davenport.

The race started in the Tanzanian capital of Dar Es Salaam this year, then headed inland towards Nairobi. Herrmann lead the race early as the cars approached Mount Kilimanjaro, then lead all the way into Nairobi, followed by Mikkola, the Junior Preston, Zasada, and Mehta in 4th. Aaltonen was still in the hunt in 6 th .

On the next stage to Kampala, Herrmann’s lead slipped as Mikkola, Zasada, and Preston Junior passed him on time. He fell into 4 th , with Mehta in 5 th and Aaltonen 7 th . The dust was unbearable, and downright dangerous; passing anybody was a huge risk.

All the team Datsuns began having fuel problems somewhere in central Kenya, and began to fall further back. Mehta’s Z broke a steering arm and fell way back on the way into Nairobi for the second time.

On the way out of Nairobi Herrmann managed to get up to 3 rd after passing Preston on route to Mombasa before breaking his rear suspension. Aaltonen missed a checkpoint and had to go back, losing a half hour in the process.

Mike Kirkland was far back but still going strong in 13 th spot when he swerved to avoid a car parked on the road and rolled the 510, crushing one of Coniglios’ fingers in the process.

Rookie Driver Anderson and teammate Davenport had finished against all odds. They’d had endless flat tires, had broken the suspension, run out of gas twice, had electrical failure, and had finally blown a head gasket. The limped home in 12 th .

Another notable finish was that of Ann Taith and Sylvia King, driving a Candy Datsun sponsored 510. They finished 18 th , but were the first ladies team to complete the race since Cardwell and Davies did it in ’68 in a Cedric.

Mikkola won the 1972 Safari, with Zasada coming second, and Vic Preston Junior 3 rd . Exactly half of the cars that finished the 72 rally were Datsuns, pretty good considering that 85 cars started and only 18 finished.

1973 was a return to victory for the 240Z, But not for Herrmann. Shekhar Mehta and his teammate “Lofty” Drews took first place overall and first in class in a dead heat win with Harry Kallstrom and Claes Billstam, who took first in class and second overall in a Bluebird 1800SSS. Fall and Wood finished 4th in their 510.
A total of 7 510’s finished, most in the top 12 spots.

The rally took a different course again that year due to political problems, but this time with Uganda and Idi Amin. Amin had actually ordered the expulsion of Mehta’s family the year before. The race started and finished in Nairobi once again.
The Datsun team lined up as Herrmann and Schuller, Mehta and Lofty Drews, Aaltonen and Easter all in 240z’s, with Harry Kallstrom and Claes Billstam, and Tony Fall and Mike Wood taking a pair of 610sss’s(1800) out for a 5000 kilometer spin.

Also of interest in the field were a rotary Mazda, and Joginder Singh in a hand built Mitsubishi Colt Gallant. Jack Simonian had switched to an Alfa GTV. A race official started quite laugh with the mechanics on hand when he asked if the Mazda’s “head” could be removed so he could inspect the “valves”.

The race started at 4 p.m. local time in Nairobi, with dry skies for the moment. Everyone headed off in the direction of the Usambara Mountains and Mombasa. Herrmann and Schuller went out early with mechanical problems. This was Herrmann’s last rally for Nissan.

Roger Clark took a strong lead early on in a Ford, doing so until the return to Nairobi. Mehta didn’t have it so easy. He and Lofty ran out of gas, then hit a flock of birds that took out most of their night driving lights. At the halfway stop in Nairobi the standings were Clark, Mikkola, Zasada, Kallstrom and Billstam in the 610sss, then Mehta and Aaltonen tied for fifth.

Clark, over an hour in the lead, had to stop and repair a steering problem early in the second half and had to take things cautiously, losing 40 minutes of his of his lead to the other cars.

In contrast Mikkola didn’t take it easy, allegedly driving his Ford Escort into the back of Zasada’s Porsche causing him to roll. The rest of the Porsche team retired due to mechanical problems. Timo Makinen rolled his Escort, followed by Bert Shankland who then rolled his Peugeot. The lead order went Mikkola, followed by Aaltonen, Kallstrom, then Mehta, and Anderson in a Peugeot.

Disaster struck Aaltonen as he came over the Meru Embu section of the course. He hit a muddy off camber corner and rolled the 240z over an embankment. Mehta hit the same bank and tore off an fender, but managed to keep going. He then passed Mikkola who had broken his steering. Kallstrom was now in the lead, with Mehta hot on his heels. Mehta caught up to Kallstrom and took a one minute lead by the finish. It was the closest Safari in history.

Both teams ended up with 406 minutes lost(points). Actually Mehta only had 405, but had been penalized a minute for having a missing headlight. It was a Dead Heat tie!

Ties are broken by a system known as “farthest-cleanest”, sort of the rallying equivalent of a hockey shoot out. The officials look at each teams race results from the starting line of the rally until they find a point were one team was penalized more that the other. Mehta was 2 minutes faster than Kallstrom on the first stage, and was awarded the Safari win as a result. Andersson came in 3 rd in his Peugeot, with Tony Fall and Mike Wood finishing 4 th in the second 610sss.
Several years later Shekhar Mehta would win 4 consecutive Safari Rally’s in Datsun 510 violet SSS’s(A10 or PA10) including one of these years when Datsuns would sweep the podium.

Once again, it would be up to Mike Kirkland to add color to the Safari Rally. Mike had finally been able to afford his own 510 to race, free of the jinxed Paulo Coniglio. He teamed up with Bruce Field for a more competitive drive. They were just out of the top ten at the beginning of the second stage when they stopped to refuel. Bruce got out to make sure the fueling was done right. The private fuel team was using 5 gallon cans to do the refueling, a somewhat dangerous idea because of vapors. Someone in the crowd had a cigarette, which then ignited the gas fumes, giving Bruce nasty burns to his legs and catching the car on fire. Mike frantically drove the car away from the fuel dump probably saving lives in the process, then he and Bruce put the 510 fire out. With burnt paint and burnt legs, they continued on to finish the rally ninth overall.

Nissan figured it had proven its point and did not enter an official works team for the 1974 Safari rally. This didn’t stop Privateers from entering Datsuns. The 510 had become the car of choice for private rallyers due to its relatively low cost, it’s durability, and it’s proven ability to win, however none would finish the ’74 race.

Rauno Aaltonen took on a new partner in German W. Stiller and entered a 610sss(180b) as a private entry for 74. Harry Kallstrom and Co-driver Claes Billstam did the same, but in a 260z. Both cars had more power than the 510, and similar suspension set ups. Another finishing team included locals Zully Remtulla and Nizar Jivani in a 260z. Rosemary Smith and Pauline Gullick in another 610sss(1800 Bluebird) would go on to win the Coupe des Dames(the ladies championship) in the 16 th and final spot. It would be the second and last Dames title handed out in the 70’s.

The 1974 rally started as a very punishing a race up a slippery slope. This was the first year the rally was run entirely inside Kenya, the norm from then on. On the first leg up to mount Kenya 70 cars left the race, knocked out due to unrelenting mud and unmerciful East African rain. Things improved weather wise as the race went on, but after the first stage the cars and drivers were in pretty rough shape. Kallstrom and Billstam would go onto place 4th overall in their 260z, with Remtulla and Jivani in 5 th . Aaltonen and Stiller managed to work up into 6th in their 610sss(180b). Rosemary Smith and Pauline Gullick were the only other Datsun finishers.

Nissan brought Works teams back for 1975, but without Mehta or Aaltonen. It would be another hellish year on the Safari trail, with only 14 cars finishing out of the 79 starters. Nissan’s best posting was a 6 th by locals Remtulla and Jivani in a 710 Violet. Datsuns also finished 7 th , 9 th , and 14 th .

1976 was equally as dismal for Nissan, with Harry Kallstrom finishing in 7 th and Remtulla finishing in 8 th , both driving 710 Violets. Two other Nissan pairs were among the 17 finishers. Shekhar Mehta partnered with Mike Doughty and was doing well, but hit a land rover and went out with related damage. Former Nissan driver Joginder Singh lead a team of Mitsubishi Lancers that swept the podium.
1977 saw Aaltonen and Drews finish second overall and first in class in a Datsun 710 Violet, with a 510 finishing 12th overall. Nissan began a slow climb out of the Safari muck, with Remtulla and Jivani in 8 th , Rob Collinge and A. Levitan in 9 th , and second time Japanese entrants Yoshio Iwashita and Kenjiro Shinozuka in 11 th . J. Hellier and K. Shah brought up the rear of the 12 finishers in a good old 510sss. Shekhar Mehta and Mike Doughty continued their unlucky streak, this time retiring due to electrical failure.

Nissan Works teams switched to the New PA10 Violet for 1978(the Hl510 in the US). Mehta and Doughty made it three retirements in as many years by going out about three quarters of the way through the course with a blown engine. He wasn’t the only driver to have bad luck.

Rain became a huge factor early on, with deep slick muddy sections, then vast flooded stages, some of which would require the rally to be rerouted.
Early in the race a young Kenyan drivers car lost control in the mud just outside of Nairobi, killing 4 spectators. Joginder Singh sunk his Mercedes in a 3 foot deep watery section after a huge cloudburst on the second night. His three Mercedes teammates did the same thing later at Marigat.

Bjorn Waldegaard and his Porsche were in the lead, with Vic Preston Jr. following in a second team Porsche. Then Preston hit a submerged rock and severely damaged his suspension, letting the Datsun Violets of Aaltonen and Lofty Drews, Kallstrom, and Mehta get passed him.

The next day a Mercedes would sink in another flooded section, it to take in water and seize its engine, Joginder Singh would go into the water for the second time and blow his engine as well.

By Saturday morning only 42 cars were remaining in the race as it left towards Mombasa. The order was Waldegaard, Aaltonen, Kallsrom, then Makinen in a Peugeot. On the road through the Taita Hills, several major teams went out with suspension damage due to the rough terrain, including Waldegaard who was in the lead.

Aaltonen and Kallstrom were now first and second, with Vic Preston in his Porsche in 3 rd . Things turned bad quickly for the Datsun teams as Aaltonen lost time in the mud, and Mehta’s Datsun blew its engine putting him out of the Safari for the 4th time in a row. Kallstom would go out the next morning with a broken axle near Embu, Makinen and his Peugeot also left the race with a broken drive shaft.

Jean-Pierre Nicolas was now in the lead the final stages in his Peugeot, with the mud delayed Aaltonen hot on his heals. A little too hot it would seem as Aaltonen rolled his Violet down an embankment, allowing Vic Preston to move into second spot. This is how the cars would finish, with Aaltonen patching his car up with borrowed parts in a desperate rush to 3 rd .

Africa had once again thrown everything possible at the drivers, cutting the 73 car field down to a mere 13 at the finish line. Datsun teams also managed to finish in 7 th and 9 th , quite respectable considering no Manufacturers prize could be awarded due to the heavy loss of vehicles.

Shekhar Mehta’s Dynasty In Safari Rally


Shekhar Mehta is arguably, the most successful driver in the history of the East African Safari Rally. In his 20 years of Safari rallying, Shekhar has 5 overall victories, one second place, and has finished the rally on five other occasions. Joginder Singh and Bjorn Waldegaard have had more top ten finishes, but no one has ever topped the five outright wins of Mehta.

Shekhar is a Ugandan of Indian descent. He was born Chandrashekhar Mehta on June 20th, 1945 in Kampala, Uganda’s capital city. He spent his early years on his family’s tea and sugar plantations, then was shipped off to Europe for schooling. He returned to Uganda to work in the family business in 1965.

Shekhar started his rally career in a BMW 1800 at the Nile Rally. He won his second rally entered, but this time he was driving a Renault. He took on track racing, starting with a BMW 2002tii. Track racing was actually his first love, not rallying. His first Safari Rally entry was in the 1968, but he failed to finish the first stage due to the horrendous weather conditions of that year. He managed to place 27th in his second Safari, lagging due to incredibly unreliable wheels on his Peugeot.

Shekhar was all set to give up rallying and concentrate on track racing when fate intervened. He went to a hillclimb event in Tanzania, and there he met a friend of his who had just bought a rally prepped Datsun 1600sss(510). Shekhar went along for a spin as a co pilot and fell in love with the car.

He bought a well-worn 1600sss from Jack Simonian and entered it in the 1970 Safari, but the engine blew and he retired from the event. Shekhar then spent the rest of a very successful rally year touring Africa and entering rallies in his 1600sss with the help of his girlfriend Yvonne and new Co-Driver Mike Doughty. He even went to Britain and entered the RAC Rally, but failed to finish.

Shekhar got his big break thanks to Joginder Singh. Joginder was supposed to drive for Datsun in 1971 in a new 240z, but went with Ford at the last minute. Datsun had watched Shekhar develop over the last year and decided to give him a shot in Joginder’s car.

I’ve already told the story of the 1971 Safari Rally here, but not from Shekhar’s perspective. Shekhar was in the top ten for most of the race, and gradually worked his way up to 3rd behind Herrmann and Aaltonen in the other Z’s. Aaltonen then dropped back with suspension problems, and Shekhar caught and overtook Herrmann on time points. Shekhar should’ve won the rally, but “Safari Luck” intervened again with the infamous Mud 朙and Rover story.

Shekhar would go on to rally for Datsun all over Africa, with appearances in European and Asian rallies for the next few years, as well as steady appearances in the Safari Rally. He and his family were forced to leave Uganda in 1972 by the Government of Idi Amin, so they set up house and business in Nairobi, Kenya.

He won the 1973 Safari Rally in a Datsun 240z in a dead heat with Harry Kallstrom. The win garnered him international respect and he was invited to rally all over the world that year.

Despite his success with Nissan, Shekhar and co-driver Mike Doughty switched to a Lancia for the 1974 and 1975 Safari’s, but failed to finish both times. He switched back to Nissan and its new Violet for 1976, 1977, and 1978, but failed to finish due to a variety of problems. He and new wife Yvonne had placed 3rd in the Acropolis Rally in 1978. By 1979, Shekhar Mehtas Safari career was on the bubble. He had failed to finish in his last 5 straight Safari attempts. Nissan gave him a Violet 160j(HL510/A10) for the race, but told him that he had to perform better or he was gone.
He performed better than anyone could’ve imagined.
The 1979 Safari Rally

The major players for the 1979 event were Mercedes and their team of 450SLC coupes, with driver Bjorn Waldegaard taking the point. Then came the Peugeots lead by Timo Makinen, and the Fiats with Munari as their strongest driver.

The 1979 Safari Rally

The major players for the 1979 event were Mercedes and their team of 450SLC coupes, with driver Bjorn Waldegaard taking the point. Then came the Peugeots lead by Timo Makinen, and the Fiats with Munari as their strongest driver.

In past rallies the Datsun tactic had been to have the local drivers take it easy on their cars for the first half of the race, and let the foreign drivers beat their cars into the ground. The rally was a race of durability as much as a race of driving skill. Shekhar Mehta wanted to change this for the 1979 rally. He demanded that the Nissan team let him go all out from the start.

He and Mike Doughty put the pedal to the metal right from the get-go. They had stripped the car of most of its spare parts and tools, praying that the car would be dependable, and that they wouldn’t get it stuck anywhere. It paid off big time.

By the second leg, Mehta and Doughty were in a pack at the front with just Makinen, Waldegaard, and Munari. He and Waldegaard dueled it out for a while before Waldegaard pulled ahead in the more powerful Mercedes. Mehta’s car suffered some suspension damage and dropped back even further.
The third leg saw the traditional Safari mud slowing down leaders Mikkola and Waldegaard, both in Mercedes. Mehta and Doughty kept within range. Then both Mercedes fell back with mechanical difficulties, Waldegaard with a blown rear axle and Mikkola with a hole in his radiator, allowing Mehta and Doughty to win by 48 minutes.

Shekhar had his second Safari rally victory and at the same time had proven that the Datsun Violet could run as a hard as the big boys and still be dependable. He had also saved face with Nissan.

Nissan won the Manufacturers team prize in 1979, with Rauno Aaltonen and Lofty Drews finishing 5th, Mike Kirkland and Dave Hawworth in 7th in an older Works 710( Mike was driving officially for Nissan for the first time), and Harry Kallstrom and Claes Billstam placing 9th. Hellier and K Shah brought an older 710 in in 13th spot, while Japanese stars Iwashita and Nakahara slid in 2 spots back in 15th in their PA10 Violet. Six finishers in the top 15 was a good sign of things to come for Nissan, and for all the drivers mentioned.

The 1980 Safari Rally

Mercedes had been badly embarrassed by their performance in the 1979 Safari and were out for blood in the ’80 event. They’d enter a team of 5 450SLC’s, and had worked out the service and support problems that had cost them the last Safari. Bjorn Waldegaard was back for a little vengeance, with an all star team of Vic Preston Jr., Joginder Singh, Hanna Mikkola, and Andrew Cowan backing him up.
safari rally
Nissan was on top with their performance at the last rally, but were by no means resting on their laurels. Nissan had decided to up the ante by racing their new twin cam 16 valve engine in class 2, instead of the stock L20b that the older Violets had. At the last minute Rally officials told them the new engine wasn’t legal yet, so they had to switch back to the old engines, dropping them back to class 4. Leading the pack for Nissan was Shekhar Mehta and Mike Doughty, then Rauno Aaltonen and Lofty Drews, and Mike Kirkland and Dave Haworth.

Opel was the other team that wanted to make a good show at the rally, and had entered a team of Ascona 400’s, with star driver Jean-Pierre Nicholas and co-driver Harry Liddon leading their charge, and Klient and Wagner as their seconds.

The 1980 rally was the hottest driest event on record, presumably giving the advantage to Mercedes. Dust would be a factor in this event, giving the advantage to the lead teams that didn’t have to spend as much time driving in it. The Mercedes struggled in the mud in past races with their higher horsepower engines, but could fly in the dry conditions. The Datsun Violets were better in the mud, and had proven to be more reliable, but in the dry conditions wear and tear shouldn’t have been such a factor. Or so it seemed.

The first 28 hour section ran from Nairobi to Kisumu, then on overnight to Eldoret for the mandatory breakfast stop, then down through Nakuro and back into Nairobi for the rest period. Mercedes as predicted were ahead on the first stage with driver Andrew Cowan, but only just as Shekhar drove his Violet like a madman and challenged the bigger Mercedes all the way. Mehta then lead for a while as the Mercedes and Opels fell behind with flat tires. Harry Kallstrom took advantage of the situation by driving in faster dust free conditions and taking the lead on and off.

Mercedes effort was starting to show signs of breaking, quite literally. Hannu Mikkola broke a caliper and fell back; Joginder Singh rolled his Mercedes early on and was pretty much out of contention.

At Eldoret the standings were stacked like a sandwich with Nissan then Mercedes taking alternating placings: Mehta-Datsun, Waldegaard-Mercedes, Kallstrom-Datsun, Cowan- Mercedes, Aaltonen-Datsun, and Preston-Mercedes.

Mehta lead on the way back into Nairobi, but stopped to change a bent wheel and let Waldegaard and Kallstrom go ahead of him on the road, if not yet on time. Mehta got a turn at eating dust now all the way back to Nairobi.
Waldegaard’s Mercedes arrived at the midpoint in Nairobi a minute ahead of Mehta on points. Waldegaard went out front on the second leg, increasing his lead over second place Mehta.
But Mercedes reliability started to falter, as did their luck. Hannu Mikkola went down with axle failure and, while doing the repairs, Mikkolas’ co-driver was hit by another car, sending him to the hospital. Then later in the stage Waldegaard crashed and let Mehta take the lead again. Waldegaard’s Mercedes started overheating and soon fell further back. Opel was pretty much out of contention by this point, with constant punctures and various mechanical failures. Jean-Pierre Nicholas made a valiant run to keep up with the pack.

With Mercedes starting to fall back, it looked as if Mehta would have a nice dust free drive to his second straight Safari title, with Kallstrom in second. But the Safari threw its next set of curve balls at Nissan. First Mehtas car suffered a pair of punctures, allowing Andrew Cowan to take his Mercedes into the lead. Then Harry Kallstrom’s Violet snapped a valve, ending his rally.

The end of stage 2 saw Cowan leading by a minute, with Mehta second, Aaltonen back over 20 minutes in 3rd, Waldegaard a minute behind him in 4th and Preston and Kirkland in 5th and 6th respectively.

t looked as though Mercedes and Nissan would duel it out to the end. No so. First Waldegaard’s Mercedes went out with the same axle failure as Mikkola had suffered earlier, then Cowan in the lead suffered the same fate. Vic Preston was all Mercedes had left, and he was far back. Preston made a dash towards the front, but couldn’t catch the two leading Datsuns.

As the race came to an end and Mehta drove on problem free to victory, Aaltonen damaged his steering and limped into Nairobi 30 minutes back in second. Preston saved a little face for Mercedes coming in third. Mike Kirkland and Dave Haworth had their best finish to date bring in their Violet in 4th. Nissan had two more top ten finishers, with Yoshio Iwashita and Yoshimasa Nakahana of Japan bringing their privately entered Silvia S100 in 7th and John Hellier and co-Driver Chris Bates finishing in 9th, just ahead of Waldegaard.

Nissan and its drivers had proven that not only were the Violets reliable, but they could run as fast as almost anybody could; the horsepower advantage of Mercedes had effectively been nullified. Nissan had won the team prize again, and had had 11 of the 24 finishes in the race including the newer Silvia, the PA10 violets, the older 710’s, and even a 120y coupe.

The 1981 Marlboro Safari Rally

So how could Shekhar Mehta and Mike Doughty top two consecutive Safari wins? By trying for the Hat Trick. It would turn out to be the longest victory in the history of the rally, taking months after the race to resolve, with much bad blood between old friends.

Nissan had finally got its twin cam engine on the books as a legal entry, calling the car the Violet GT to distinguish it from the standard 160J/PA10. Shekhar and Mike Doughty were once again the lead team with Nissan, then Rauno Aaltonen and Lofty Drews also in a Violet GT, and Mike Kirkland and Haworth in the standard 160j. Timo Salonen was also driving for Nissan, but in a different car, the 200sx or Silvia. Nissan also entered a turbocharged Bluebird, but the car went out on the stage to Mombasa.

Mercedes had had enough and left Peugeot with the 504 and Opel with the Ascona to mount the competition against the seemingly unstoppable Datsuns. Dodge showed up as well with a set of Ramcharger trucks, the first American entry in 17 years.
safari rally
The dust was gone, but the rain was back and it was doing its best to make up for the previous year’s absence. The first section from Nairobi over the Mau escarpment was rerouted due to flooding, and the cars cruised on pavement almost all the way to Kisumu near Lake Victoria. With all the time allowed for the stage saved by driving the direct route, some drivers, including Aaltonen, had time to stop for a nice lunch at the Rift Valley Country Club. Of course even on the pavement the hazards of rallying couldn’t be avoided as 30 car received speeding tickets from Kenyan police officers, a new wrinkle in the sport. One team actually went out of the running on the pavement, the first Dodge team left with major transmission problems after only a short time on the road (God only knows how long they would’ve lasted on the dirt- always thought Ramchargers were junk).

The next morning the drivers were faced with a safari challenge that seemed almost insurmountable. In the span of just 24 hours, the equivalent of ten years worth of rain had fallen in the Cherangani Hills section of the course. Safari newcomer Anders Kullang took his Opel Ascona through the section with ease to take an eleven minute lead over the rest of the field.

Others weren’t so lucky. Timo Salonen in the Silvia and Guy Frequelin in the 504, in second and third that morning, both started to fall back. Jochi Klient, another Opel works driver, dropped over an hour behind with steering failure. Makinen and Frequelin both had problems on the second day with clutches in their Peugeots, due to the low gear pace of the race. The next two Ramchargers dropped well back with suspension and electrical problems. The roads developed deep ruts due to the hard pace of the race, causing many a car to go out with punctures.
All this mud and rain went in Nissan’s favor. By the end of the first leg Datsuns sat with Timo Salonen in second in the 200sx Silvia, Mehta and Doughty in 3rd, and Aaltonen and Drews in 4th. Anders Kullang kept his lead going in the Opel. Every team suffered from a plague of punctures due to the boulders that were being chewed up in the mud.

Mehta was third as the cars arrived back in Nairobi for the middle rest period. He next morning saw no let up to the rain and another 50 mile section was cancelled on the route to Mombasa due to heavy flooding. The conditions didn’t help the Peugeot teams of Makinen and Frequelin, as both teams had to retire after burning out their clutches. Datsun and Opel teams fought it out on the way to Mombasa and down the coast.

The next morning the teams were greeted with a bit of a reprieve as conditions grew drier and sunny. Timo Salonen charged ahead of Kullang’s Opel, only to crash his Silvia into a Land Rover. The Datsuns tough dependable nature began to fall into question as Mehta burnt a starter and Aaltonen’s car began to come apart at the seams. By the time the cars left Mombasa on Easter Saturday afternoon, only 39 remained, with 1500 miles to go. Kullang was still in the lead with his Opel with Mehta neck and neck behind him.
safari rally
Then “Safari Luck” struck another blow as Kullang, the leader for most of the race, toasted a cow with his Opel. He still lead, but not for long as he put his Opel in a ditch a short time later. The Peugeot teams weren’t having much luck either with clutch failures impending on Ambrosino’s and Lefebvre’s cars. The Datsuns were all that was really left of the leaders, and were now running 1 through 4 on time and on the road into Nairobi for the end of stage 2 .

The final leg saw Mehta lead Salonen and Aaltonen out of Nairobi in a rally that was now down to just 28 cars. Salonen wanted to win and Aaltonen wanted it even more, so they and Mehta ignored Nissan team orders to take it easy through the night and conserve the cars.
Around midnight all of the teams ran into a new delay. A section of the road had become submerged under 5 feet of water due to the unstoppable rain. The cars were hauled through with big trucks, but one of the Peugeots got stuck and was nearly swept away.

Flood damage to Mehtas car allowed Aaltonen to take the lead near Baringo despite team orders not to do so, but Mehta soon caught up and the two went at it no holds barred. Aaltonen was tired of being second and he wanted to win. Mehta was so mad that Aaltonen had ignored team orders that he actually rammed Aaltonen’s car. Aaltonen returned the favor, putting a large dent in Mehta’s Violet. Mehta lead by seconds at the final check point at Nyeri when Nissan team manager “Waka” told them to stop the nonsense. He told Aaltonen that Mehta was in the lead and that things were going to stay that way to the finish line. Aaltonen, a fierce competitor, was understandably furious, but followed orders anyway.

Mehta crossed the finish line in Nairobi 5 minutes ahead Aaltonen to take his 3rd straight Safari victory. Or did he?
shekhar mehta
Aaltonen protested the win, citing time he had lost earlier in the race due to a wrongly located time check, and on other stages. Initially race officials ruled in his favor, moving Mehta into second place 9 hours after the finish but that decision was overturned later on appeal. Apparently Aaltonen had no right to file the first appeal so, after much debate and much time, Mehta was awarded the win and Aaltonen was forced back into second. Mehta and Aaltonen had been good friends up to this point, but now became bitter enemies. Aaltonen never raced for Nissan again.

Nissan had their best performance ever in the rally, with Mike Kirkland coming in 3rd behind Aaltonen to sweep the podium for the team. Timo Salonen brought the Silvia in 4th, with Iwashita and Nakahara in 7th, and Shah and Rahim in 8th. Datsuns took 12 of the 21 finishing positions with teams driving everything from 180b’s to Silvia’s to older 710’s to every version of the Violet. Nissan won the team prize of course, capping a nearly perfect race with the exception of the Aaltonen -Mehta controversy.

The 1982 Marlboro Safari Rally

Everybody was watching Mehta and Aaltonen for this rally. Mehta was driving a 2 liter Violet GT again, while Aaltonen had taken a ride with Opel and their Ascona. Datsuns dominance of the event was starting to show, as fewer and fewer international entrants were willing to risk being defeated by the Japanese upstarts. Subaru and Mitsubishi were there in force, as were Opel, but other that a couple Porsches and some private entries the field was very limited.

Nissan entered both the PA10 Violet GT of Shekhar Mehta and Mike Doughty, and the VioletGTs/200sx. Another turbocharged Datsun Bluebird was in the field, but it failed to finish for the second straight year.

The first half of the race was relatively uneventful. The course was dry and dusty, with the exception of a few well placed mud holes that managed to swallow the occasional car and driver. One of the victims of this was Brit Tony Pond who was driving for Nissan. Every one of the leaders had some sort of problem or another. Aaltonen, the leader, broke a ball joint. Mehta had a differential failure, and Rohrl buried the second Opel in a mud hole. Timo Salonen had serious brake problems with his Silvia/Violet GTS. Munari was there driving a Porsche, but transmission troubles all but ended his race early on.
45 of the 73 original cars made it back to Nairobi in fairly good shape, with Aaltonen in first, Mehta 16 minutes behind, and Rohrl in the second Opel behind Mehta.

The second leg started out dry like the first. Noticeably absent on this leg was Munari and his Porsche who hadn’t even bothered trying to finish due to his transmission problems. Timo Salonen’s Datsun was out too, with a long list of complaints. Then the little things started to go wrong as usual. First Rohrl’s Opel blew its belts. Then local Rob Collinge’s Range Rover had its hood come loose causing him to crash blindly, breaking his front axle. And then Rauno Aaltonen had the toughest break of all. For some reason cars had been eating up rear differentials like popcorn on this rally. Nissan had gone through six on the first stage, and others had had similar experiences. Aaltonen wasn’t unlucky to lose an axle he was just unlucky enough to do it in the middle of nowhere. By the time a chase car reached him and axles could be swapped, he’d lost 113 minutes. Aaltonen was effectively out of reach of the lead, dashing his hopes of defeating his rival.

Back in Nairobi at the end of stage 2, it was Mehta in the lead, followed by the Opel of Rohrl, then Aaltonen back in third, followed by Mike Kirkland in his Violet GTS, then Tony Pond in another GTS.

The cars headed out for the last leg around Mount Kenya. Tony ponds caught and passed Shekhar Mehta and Mike Doughty on the road then cleared a path for them through the wildlife and other mobile road hazards. The road was dry and life was pretty mundane for the drivers, except for “the unlucky Finn”; Rauno Aaltonen threw a rod in an engine that had never thrown a rod in competition before, ending his 19th attempt to win the Safari.

Mehta cruised on to victory for the fourth and last time, while Tony Pond broke a suspension component, letting Mike Kirkland pass into 3rd. Second place was held by Rohrl and co-driver Geistorfer’s Opel.

The crowds cheered as local hero Mehta took the ramp back in Nairobi, setting a Safari Rally win total that has yet to be broken, and probably never will be. Mike Kirkland arrived third for his second podium finish in as many years. Tony Pond made a fabulous debut bring in his GTS in fourth, with local stars Jayant Shah and Aslam Khan making it 4 out of the top five for Nissan. Nissan had 7 of the 21 finishers in the race, another outstanding finish.

It was Mehta’s, and Nissans, last Safari win. 1983 saw a whole new Class system that basically eliminated the cars that had dominated before. Another arrival on the scene had an equal impact, the Audi Quattro, a car that would change the world of rallying forever. The dawn of the All Wheel Drive � Four Wheel drive had started. Subaru was in the game, as was Toyota, but Nissan never joined the party.
Nissan had some great successes, notably with Mike Kirkland in a 240RS(the rally version of the 240SX) placing third in 1985, then placing second in ’88 and ’89 in a 200sx. Mike was still with the team when Nissan pulled out of World Rally competition after the 1991 season.

Shekhar Mehta kept rallying for a couple more years until a serious accident forced him to retire in 1987. He joined the management team of the Safari Rally and lead the organization for quite a number of years.

Mike Doughty left Shekhar to organize the Safari Rally after their 1982 victory. He ran it for several years, including 1987 from his bed after he and Shekhar crashed badly during the Rally of the Pharoahs in Egypt.

Rauno Aaltonen gave up on the Rally in 1987 after 23 attempts. He still managed to pull off 12 top ten finishes, a fantastic record for any driver, but the outright win he wanted eluded him to the bitter end.

Edgar Herrmann quit 2 years earlier in 1985. Like Aaltonen, Edgar had 23 Safari attempts under his belt, but he only managed to finish 5 times, 4 of them with Datsuns, including his two wins.

Joginder Singh as far as I know is still racing on and off to this day. Jo has an incredible Rally record; 3 wins, 13 top ten finishes, and only 3 retirements in 22 years of Safari. Mehta and Waldegaard(4) may have more wins, but Singh is probably the greatest Safari driver ever. He died unfortunately in the U.K,These legends made safari rally more than a rally

Kenyan Driver Jaspreet Chatthe On Form In A.R.C And K.N.R.C



KNRCJaspreet Singh Chatthe Is Trully “On Form” With Navigator Craig Thorley And Gugu Panesar As He Leads The African Rally Championship And The Kenya Rally Championship 2015,Jassi Seized ARC Top Position After Winning The Zambian Intl Rally And Topped The Table; With Top Speedy Driving And Accurate Turns He Has Emerged Victorious And Very Promising. All The Best To The Team Kiboss Flag Bearer In This And Upcoming Seasons
1. Jassi Chatthe 50
2. jassy Singh 36
3. Muna Singh Jnr 30
4. Gary Chaynes 25
1. Craig Thorley 50
2. Sajid Khan 36
3. Adrian Sutherland 30
4. David Israel 25


Zambia Internation Rally
Provisional Results are:
1. Jaspreet Jassi Chatthe/ Craig Thorley
(Kenya) Mitsubishi Evo10 2:40:13
2. Jassy Singh / Sajid Khan (Zambia) Subaru
Impreza N16 2:44:27
3. Mohamed Essa Mohammed / Gareth Dawe
(Zambia/Kenya) Subaru Impreza N16 2:43:46
4. Muna Singh Jnr / Adrian Sutherland
(Zambia) Subaru Impreza N10 2:47:53
5. Miles Monge / Crawford Mwinga (Zambia)
Subaru Impreza N12 2:51:42
6. Jurgen Sauter / Rudi Sauter (Zambia)
Subaru Impreza N5 2:51:42
jaspreet chatthe
jaspreet chatthe
jassi chatthe

KCB Voi Rally 2015


07:00: KCB Voi
07:08: CS1-Voi Stadium Spectator stage (0.30km)
SERVICE A-Rukinga (20mins)
08:41: CS2-Simba 1 (51.50km)
09:39: CS3-Ndovu 1 (33km)
SERVICE B-Rukinga (20mins)
10:52: CS4-Twiga 1 (16.60km)
SERVICE C-Rukinga (20mins)
12:28: CS5-Simba 2 (51.50km)
13:26: CS6-Ndovu 2 (33km)
SERVICE D-Rukinga (20mins)
14:39: CS7-Twiga 2 (16.60km)
SERVICE E -Rukinga (10mins)
Competitive Dist.: 202.50km
Liaison Dist.: 71.73km
Cumulative Total: 274.23km.
KCB Voi Rally 2015
Reconnaisance: 5th June 2015 from 0600hrs- 1800hrs
Collection of Road books & Decals 4th June 20151 from 600hrs-2000hrs Shell Station Voi
Scrutineering Checks: 5th June 2015, 0930hrs, Shell Station-Voi
Stewards Meeting (1): 5th June 2015, 1600hrs, Shell Station- Voi
Publication of Start order: 5th June 2015, 1700hrs, Shell Station- Voi
Drivers Briefing: 6th June 2015, 0630hrs @ KCB Voi Branch
Ceremonial Start: 6th June 2015, 0700hrs, KCB Voi Branch
Stewards Meeting (2) 6th June 2015, 1600hrs @ Rukinga Ranch HQ
Publication of provisional results: 6th June 2015, 1630hrs @ Rukinga Ranch HQ
Prize giving ceremony: 6th June 2015, 1730hrs @ Rukinga Ranch HQ
Organiser: Mombasa Motor Club
Road surface:
*Competitive Stages – Gravel
*Liaison- Tarmac, Broken tarmac and Gravel
Overall competitive distance and total distance of the
*Competitive:202.5 Kms
*Liason:73.6 Kms
*Total:276.1 Kms
National titles for which the rally counts:
*The 2015 Kenya National Rally Championship for Drivers and Co-Drivers
*The 2015 Kenya National Rally Group N Championship for Drivers and Co-Drivers
*The 2015 Kenya National Rally Division One (1) Championship for Drivers and Co-Drivers
*The 2015 Kenya National Rally Division Two (2) Championship for Drivers and Co-Drivers
*The 2015 Kenya National Rally Division Three (3) Championship for Drivers and Co-Drivers
*The 2015 Kenya National Rally Classic Class (C) Championship for Drivers and Co-Drivers
*The 2015 Kenya National Rally Supplementary Class (S) Championship for Drivers and Co-Drivers
*The 2015 Kenya National Rally Two Wheel Drive Class (2WD) Championship for Drivers and
*The 2015 Kenya National Rally Specially Prepared Vehicles Class (SPV) Championship for
Drivers and Co-Drivers
Stewards of the Meeting
*ASN Steward – Raju Chagger
*MMC Steward – Karim H Omido
Senior officials Clerk of Course:
Roy McKenzie
Deputy Clerk of Course: Jim Kahumbura, Azar Anwar, John Benard, George Mwangi
Chief Scrutineer: Musa Locho
Chief Safety Officer
Wellington O
Chief Medical Officer: Ben Ochieng
Chief Control Officer: P. M Njoroge
Secretary of Meeting: Margy McKenzie
Chief Security Officer
Name: Wellington Ochieng
Service Park Manager: Mohammend Moti
Competitors Relation Officer: Kamlesh Pandya
Scrutineering Paddock:: Shell Station Voi
Location of Service Park: Rukinga Ranch

KCB Voi Rally 2015
SEEDED ENTRY LIST as at 3rd June 2015 1700Hrs
Car No 6. Manvir Baryan/Drew Sturock -UK (Ford Fiesta RC2-R5 Multiple Racing Team)
Car No. 5. Jaspreet Chatthe/Craig Thorley ( Mitsubishi Evolution 10RC2-R4Team Kibos)
Car No. 4. Rajbir Rai/Timothy Challen (Ford FiestaRC2-R5Rai Racing)
Car No. 3. Ian Duncan/Andrew Doig (Mitsubishi Evolution 10 RC2-N4. Liquid Telecom)
Car No. 2. Carl Tundo/Tim Jessop (Proton Neo Satria. RC2-S2000. Menengai Oil)
Car No. 8. Onkar Rai/Gareth Dawe (Mitsubishi Evolution 10. RC2-N4. Kabras Sugar Racing)
Car No. 1. Baldev Chager/Ravi Soni (Mitsubishi Evolution 10. RC2-N4. Kabras Sugar Racing)
Car No. 7. Quentin Mitchell/
Thomas Taylor (Skoda FabiaRC2-S2000. Quentin Mitchell Rallying)
Car No. 99. Tapio Laukkanen/Pasi Torma -FIN (Subaru Impreza GVB 13. RC2-R4. Multiple Racing Team)
Car No. 9. Raaji Bharij/Jasneil Ghataure (Mitsubishi Evolution 10. RC2-N4 Delights Motorsport)
Car No. 95. Jas Mangat/Cedric Buzabo-EAU (Mitsubishi Evolution 10. RC2-R4. Pili Pili)
Car No. 15. Alastair Cavenagh/Gavin Laurence (Proton Neo Satria. RC2-S2000)
Car No. 25. Izhar Mirza/Kashif Sheikh (Mitsubishi Evolution 9RC2-N4. Coast Pekee)
Car No. 19. Karan Patel/Tauseef Khan (Mitsubishi Evolution 10RC2-N4. Filmico Racing)
Car No. 17. Jasmeet Chana/Ravinder Chana (Mitsubishi Evolution 9. RC2-N4. CRS Racing)
Car 14. Tejveer Rai/Zahir Shah (Mitsubishi Evolution 10. RC2-R4. Kabras Sugar Racing)
Car No. 27. Frank Tundo/Tariq Malik (Mitsubishi Evolution 9RC2-N4)
Car No. 100. Pavit Kenth/Raju Sehmi (Mitsubishi Evolution 9. RC2-N4)
Car No. 32. Amaanraj Rai/Gregory Stead (Mitsubishi Evolution 10. RC2-R4. Rai Racing)
Car No. 48. Pietro Canobbio/Silvia Frigo (Mitsubishi Evolution 10RC2-R4)
Car No 47. Asad Khan/Mwangi Kioni (Subaru Impreza N10. RC2-N4 Silverspread Rally Team)
Car No. 49. Dennis Mwenda/Job Njiru (Mitsubishi Evolution 9RC2-N4. Silverspread Rally Team)
Car No. 114. Alfir Khan/
Imran Khan (Subaru Impreza N10RC2-N4Moody Rallye)
Car No. 23. Steve Mwangi/Steve Nyorri (Subaru Impreza N10. RC2-N4. Andy Rally Team
Steve NyorriKEN
Car 18. Farhaaz Khan/Riyaz Ismail (Mitsubishi Evolution 9. RC2-N4. Oilibya Racing)
Car No. 22. Mahesh Halai/Ketan Halai (Subaru Impreza N12. RC2-N4. Shamba Boys Motorsport)
Car No. 33. Naushad Lota/Adnan Din (Subaru Impreza N12RC2-N4)
Car No. 59. Murage Waigwa/Tuta Mionki (Subaru Impreza GC8. NAT-S. Bobo Rally Team)
Car No. 35. Jonathan Somen/Richard Hechle (Ford Escort MK2. CLASSIC. Scuderria DaGorreti)
Car No. 37. Eric Bengi/Tony Gikuhi (Toyota RunX. NAT-2WD)
Car No. 36. Hussein Malik/Absalom Aswani (Mitsubishi Evolution 6. NAT-S. National Oil Racing)
Car No. 109. George Njoroge/TBA (Subaru. NAT-SPV)
Car No 64. Nadeem Kana/James Mwangi (Subaru Impreza GC8. NAT-S)
Car No. 51. Paras Pandya/Falgun Bhojak (Subaru Impreza N10RC2-N4)
Car No. 50. Rob Hellier/Douglas Rundgrew (Datsun 160 J. CLASSIC)
Car No 52. Aslam Khan/Arshad Khan (Porshe Carrera 911. CLASSIC. ALS Motorsport)
Car No. 98. Jansher Sandhu/Feisal Khan (Mitsubishi Evolution 9. RC2-N4)
Car No. 55. Manmeet Puee/Gurveer Pandal (Subaru Impreza N10. RC2-N4
Car No. 83. Yusuf Pasta/Fleur Driest-Dutch (Subaru Impreza N10. RC2-N4. Roadtainers Racing Team)
Car No. 80. Sammy Nyorri/Edward Njoroge (Toyota RunX. NAT-2WD. Moonwalker Racing)
Car No. 42. Eric Njogu/Tony Kimondo (Subaru Impreza N8. NAT-S)
Car No. 102. Natasha Tundo/Chantal Young
Subaru Impreza N10. RC2-N4. Rally Chix)
Car No. 68. Chandrakant Devji/Julius Mwachuya (Subaru Impreza GC8. NAT-SShajanad Racing)
Car No. 127. Adil Mirza/Thabit Khandwalla (Mitsubishi Evolution 8. RC2-N4)
Car No. 125. Shiraz Yusuf/Azhar Bhatti (Mitsubishi Evolution 10RC2-N4)
Car No. 78. Alex Lairang’i/Anthony Gichohi (Toyota Sprinter. NAT-2WD. Delights Motorsports)
Car No. 66. Leonardo Varese/Kigondu Kareithi (Toyota Corolla RSINAT-2WDSports Pesa Rally Team)
Car No. 73. Ramesh Vishram/ Rohit Bhudia (Ford Escort MK11. CLASSIC. Cementers Motorsports)
Car No. 115. Arif Kana/John Ngugi (Subaru Impreza GC8. NAT-2WD)
kcb voi rally 2015