Champion Rajveer stunned in thrilling autocross opener

The opening round of this year’s KCB Kenya National Autocross Championship came to a spectacular end at Cheita Farm in Nanyuki over the weekend with second generation drivers spicing up the opening autocross event. Three-time Bambino champion Ryan Bailey who only graduated to Two-Wheel Drive Non-turbo class this season needed no second invitation as he stunned reigning junior champion Rajveer Thethy for a first place finish. Rajveer, son of the former Two Wheel Drive champion Charan Thethy, drove a Daewoo machine which has for the past few years been synonymous with the Thethy family. Ryan, who signed off from last year’s edition with three championship victories finished first in the 2WD Junior Non Turbo class in a thrilling race that saw him power past the highly favored “Attacker Buggies”. “Sunday was definitely my best day of racing ever. 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 and massive thanks to my racing team PAC,” Ryan said. It was double delight for the Bailey family with Ryan’s mother Gillian marking her autocross debut with victory in the Two Wheel Non Turbo class. Gillian savored her debut in Two Wheel Drive Non Turbo class which saw her defeat Tejas Hirani who despite driving a more powerful bambino buggy failed to match her opponent. Notable absentees in the junior class were the Smith siblings – Rio and Sean – who are soon expected to unveil their new Vitz 1500cc machine. 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,” Syanna, 15, said. Imran Hakada emerged the winner in Two Wheel Drive Turbo class ahead of Shalien Mughal, Karan Sehmi and Lovejyot Singh. “This year will be more fun and competitive as there are many drivers practicing to make themselves better. It will be competitive, interesting and fun,” Hakada said. Lovejyot Singh who finished fourth acknowledged the speed of the track after six months absence. “The race was all good and well organized. The track was very fast with nice flowing corners back to back and I was overly glad to tackle my first NRG event. I finished 4th in my class and felt a bit rusty driving again after a 6 months of break.” Defending Four Wheel drive turbo champion Azar Anwar, 63, put up an age defying performance as he won his class with the fastest overall heat of the day, obliterating the younger generation of drivers with a breathtaking podium dash. Shalien Mughal endured a tough day in office in the Two Wheel Drive Turbo class after suffering a gearbox catastrophe early in the heats. Other second generation drivers included were McRae Kimathi, son of KMSF chairman Phineas Kimathi and Ken Nteere, son of the late Rally driver Washington Nteere.

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