A record 100 learners attended the launch of San Valencia KRDA Rally School at Valencia Gardens in Lavington, Nairobi from where they were later taken through the motion of navigation by veteran drivers at Jamhuri Park.
Started last January by former navigator national champion Abdul Sidi with six aspiring co drivers, the second session at Anniversary Restaurant attracted 35 participants before the high turnout which was attended by Phineas Kimathi, Azar Anwar, Asad Khan and George Mwangi who also imparted their wealth of experience to the students.
At Jamhuri Park, the students ‘navigated’ former national champion Anwar and F2 aspirant Charles Hinga in a 1km twisty section at rally speeds. More than 20 volunteer drivers also took turns to be co-driver of the students who were helped in making notes on the route by Sidi and George Mwangi.
Kimathi, the last Africa driver to finish the World Championship Safari Rally, said San Valencia was committed to help sports grow in Kenya and in particular rallying which made him famous. “We are happy to be associated with upcoming people because we believe health is important in young people,” said Kimathi who is the director of San Valencia Group of companies.
School is boring as there are no incentives but in this particular case San Valencia provides students with stationary, food and in particular Valencia yogurt which is good for the brains besides hosting two graduation cocktail parties at Valencia Gardens.”
“When I return to rallying I will be looking for a graduate of this school to co-drive me,” added the former F2 champion.
Sidi said that he was happy to provide his services in retirement. When I started navigating over 20 years ago for Peter Hayes, I learnt the hard way because I did not have a mentor. Today I want these drivers to learn from us. Our next step is to organize similar clinics for drivers, media and controllers bearing in mind the need of safety for spectators.
Kenya Motor Sports Limited General Manager Newton Njiru said they fully supported the rally school and the Kenya Rally Drivers Association.
Despite being Africa’s motorsport premier with a history of dating back to colonial days, Kenya has had had no formal rallying school until now.