Speed festival features Kenya’s daredevils in pre-1978 machines. So, no fancy electronics with such names as EFI, VVTi, Tiptronic transmissions, traction control
From today, the plains of Laikipia erupt into throaty roars of Porsche Carreras, Datsuns 240 &260Zs, Triumph TRN8s, Fords Escort MK2s (and a Mustang too!) as the Top Fry Classic Rally vrooms off from the Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club in Nanyuki.
By the way, a BMW323i is in the battle as is a VW Beatle driven by Fergus Robley navigated by Charles Wang’ombe.
The 2019 Top Fry classic will be a five-day event, starting and finishing at the prestigious club.
It features approximately 1,500kms of competitive stages running through uniquely stunning expanses of Northern Kenya, according to www.topfryrally.com.
In the speed festival are Kenya’s daredevils in pre-1978 (or thereabout) machines. So, no fancy electronics with such names as EFI, VVTi, Tiptronic transmissions, traction control and so on.
These are machines for real men and women who can handle the H-pattern gear shift, repair carburettors and tune-up in the bush.
Talking of daredevils, you have last year’s winner “Baldie” Baldev Chager behind the wheel of the same Porsche Carrera 911.
Looking for sweet revenge is the South African Geoff Bell --- number two last year--- in the pacey Datsun 240Z that boasts a V-6 and three carburettors. Very light and therefore not for the lily-livered. What with the skewed weight-to-power-ratio.
Also driving a similar Porsche is a very-fast Onkar Rai, a scion of the Rai motor-sporting and industrial family. Remember the great Sarbi Rai and his Celicas?
The rear-engined Porsches out-cost a medium-size CDF project but they are bloody robust and perfectly-engineered. Almost.
Feeling like a German Shepherd who has spotted a rabbit (read the car in front) will be Carl “Flash” Tundo in a Triumph TR8, a beautiful eight-cylinder marque.
Google tells us it was designed by Harris Mann and manufactured by British Leyland. Under the mile-long, wedge-shaped bonnet is a ?3,528 cc engine powering ?1.2 tons. Again, awesome power-weight ratio. Production? was between ?1978and198. Transmission?? ?5-speed manual.
Two-time winner of the gruelling East African Safari Classic Rally and dare-devil-in-chief Ian Duncan is back after gremlins ensured he did not finish last year in a Ford Capri, a misfortune he shared with “Flash”. He is navigated by Antony Nielsen in a Ford Mustang.
Full list of man and machine:
This article first appeared in the Standard