Improve, Cross-country Challenge organisers told

Published on 25/02/2009

By James Waindi

The Government has challenged organisers of the Kenya National Cross-country Challenge to uplift the tournament’s standards.

Speaking during a cheque presentation ceremony where Fina Bank sponsored the first tour to a tune of Sh600,000, Sports Commissioner Gordon Oluoch said the event should attract participants and manufacturers worldwide.

” I am glad the Cross-country Rally Challenge has grown in stature, attracting an average competitor entry of over 40 cars, buggies, motor bikes and quad bikes. I am told the Cross country Commission plans to host the FIA World Cross-country Cup in the near future.

“The world’s famous Dakar Rally was relocated to South America amidst political and geographical problems in North Africa. It’s a challenge from the Government that we should strive to uplift the organisation of our Cross-country Rally Challenge events to attract overseas entrants as well as manufacturers,” said Oluoch.

Cross-country commission chairman and five-times national rally champion, Ian Duncan, said it had been difficult to pursue the World Rally Championship stature and noted the country would return to the world map through such initiatives.

The first tour of this year’s Fina Bank Cross-country event will be held on Sunday in Selengei, 160km from Nairobi, and will double up as the first round of the Kenya National Enduro Championship.

Organisers Rallye Sports Club (RSC) have set aside Saturday for event documentation and scrutiny.

Clerk of the course and RSC chairman, Dave Macharia, said the terrain would be challenging and technical, but noted it was designed to accommodate not only motorbikes but also buggies, cars and quads.

“The route is a bit technical, rough and twisty. But it’s conducive for all off-road cars and not just bikes,” Macharia said.

“One of the interesting and challenging aspects are two sandy riverbeds, one of which runs on a seven-kilometre stretch and the other through some 17km of the Selengei River. Luckily, there are no rocks. This is a new route and being unknown to all intensifies the challenge,” he said.

The cars category is expected to be a mouth-watering experience as reigning champion Asad Anwar defends his title in a Toyota Land Cruiser VX, with stiff competition from Nish Lakhani and captain Steve Waiyaki.

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