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Mental Break: Safari Rally

So me and the fam were out of town for the holiday weekend…while driving to one of the tourist sites we visited, we came across groups of people parked on the side of the road waiting for cars participating in the Sasol Rally (never heard of it before) to drive by. It reminded me of the good old days of the Safari Rally (aka Safo), and I felt bad that Gabriella will grow up without some of the simple thrills that were a regular feature of my childhood.

I was a Shekhar Mehta fan (who wasn’t?) and Toyota Celica gal…ignore the conflict. Remember all those Finnish names? And I yes I was nerdy enough to track the drivers and stages with that ka-insert that was in the paper. Unfortunately, I lacked the skills to craft my own mng’are. We always walked to Mombasa road to watch the cars come in from their final stage. You had to get their early to get a decent viewing spot. I remember the road would be packed with kids, families, and further away from the city people even picnicking by the side of the road. It was exciting stuff. One year the company my dad used to work was one of the sponsors of the rally and I got to go to KICC for the kick-off…bragging rights in the esto’ ensued…hehehe.

In the spirit of 8-4-4 memories, please share your Safo memories.

13 comments to Mental Break: Safari Rally

  • bankelele

    Vic Preston Jr. who had bad luck every year – one year he led almost all the way till he ‘crashed’ at night in Kakamega, crazy Kenyans – Rob Collinge – (Range Rover) and Ian Duncan (Datsun 120 p-up) until he got a Toyota drive, Shekar Mehta navigated by his wife – who never seemed to be the festest, but knew where the potholes were, and always ended up the winner.

    I miss the whole group B era of fragile supercars (Audi, Lancia, Peugeot) , the cars today are too ordinary and haveinspired too many subaru and mitusbishi drivers to imagine they are also rally drivers

  • M

    He he! Yes, i remember akina Bjorn Waldegaard and Juha Kankkunnen

  • Linda O

    And can forget the chille who represented for all women! Linda Morgan yawa!

  • Juha Kankunnen was my fave. Though Joginder Singh was also memorable. Just this past weekend D was telling us a storo about Joginder stuffing grass into his tyres so he could finish the race, ati it helped him ‘fly’. Yani the overactive imaginations! :)

  • there was this one year they passed by my grandmothers farm. the cars, the noise, the dust, awesome! good times.

  • jackie

    Vic Preston Jr. was My Guy.
    Gal i rem. dozing off in class during the day coz the whole night was spent kwa Baro. kids in kenya right now are totally missing out.
    do you rem. the mikebe safo cars boys made kwa Esto? halafu you have to run while dragging it? in other words, the fastest runner won the race, not the car… memories

  • Back then this was some serious business – the scorecard, sharp pencils, late nights and early mornings by the radio, cross-checking with buddies to make sure we had the latest info. It was great.

    For me, Bjorn Waaldegard was the man to beat.

  • Mkalimani

    Some of the funniest aspects were when the VOK announcers wrongly pronounced names like B-Jorn Waaldegard.
    But this also brings back to memory the creativeness of kids as we used to build rally cars with matope, cardboards and wires. And each safo was well organized with check points and winner would get pens and books, all organized by 10 year olds. Those were the days.

  • Erick

    Sheka Mehta and Joginder Singh forever! And the wire cars? Wow, I could only admire one of our friends who had a rubber band tire suspension system! Can’t remember how Johnathan T fared when he joined the Rally, was it rigged in his favor 😀 ?

    I’ve been away for quite a while, when did Safari Rally stop?

  • proudkikuyuwoman

    I was in the village and it was always fun to sometimes wake up in the dead of night to catch the rally. Sometimes we missed church over Easter, just when the roads were at their muddiest.

  • Sura Mbaya

    Holy ### – I am late to the party lakini no problem….

    My man was Bjorn Waldagad (I dont care about how they spell it with those tu-dots over every vowel). That jamaa was a total Spartan. No resting; just showing akina Patrick Njiru all the dust in the world.

    But the true Safo moment was those little white liners in the Coca Cola bottles called “pa”. Walala!!! Pa! You play your pumz muzuri you kamata the colored one and you are golden…

  • bill okeefe

    I found a company that filmed the Safari in the 1980s …they have hours of material of everyone in those years

  • george

    juha kankunen to date is ma jamaa.
    those gud ol days went tho it was fun