The opening round of the KCB Kenya National Autocross Championship 2017 came to a dramatic end at Cheita Farm over the weekend with second generation drivers dictating the pace in their respective classes.
Outgoing 3-time Bambino champion, Ryan Bailey was in a class of his own in his new class and buggy after beating reigning junior champion, Rajveer Thethy to second place.
Rajveer, son of former 2WD champion Charan Thethy, drove a Daewoo machine which has over the past few years been synonymous with the Thethy family.
Ryan, one of the best all-round youngsters and son of the legendary Paul Bailey, won the 2WD junior non-Turbo class, serving up great moments ahead with a fastest heat time that saw him vanquish all the “Attacker Buggies” contrary to all expectations.
It was, however, double celebration for the Bailey family with Ryan’s mum Gillian crowning her autocross debut with victory in the 2WD non-Turbo class.
“Yesterday (Sunday) was definitely my best day of racing ever,” quipped Ryan, adding: “I completed my first race in the junior class and finished first. I also narrowly set the fastest time of the day, beating all the buggies on times. It was a great event, thanks to my racing team PAC.”
Notable absentee in the junior class were Don Smith siblings—Rio and Sean—who are expected to unveil their new Vitz 1,500cc machine soon.
Syanna Jessop, daughter of multiple Safari Rally navigator champion Tim Jessop, entered her name in the annals of autocross championship history by being the first girl to win the bambino class.
“The 2.2km track was awesome and suited my driving style. I did my best to improve on my times in each lap. I feel more comfortable with the Bambino buggy and hope to improve on my lines and keep speed through corners,” 15-year-old Syanna, who is a student at Hillcrest School, said. Imran Hakada emerged the victor in 2WD non-Turbo class ahead of Shalien Mughal, Karan Sehmi and Lovejyot Singh. “This year will be more fun and competitive as there are many drivers practising to make themselves better. It will be competitive, interesting and fun,” Hakada said.
Defending 4WD turbo champion Azar Anwar proved that age is nothing but a number. Azar, 63, won his class with the fatest overall heat of the day by subjecting the younger generation of drivers to a breathtaking podium dash. Azar posted the fastest overall time on the best of three heat total.
Gillian savoured her debut in 2WD non-Turbo class which saw her defeat Tejas Hirani. Tejas drove a Bambino buggy and couldn’t match Gillian’s time in a slower machine.