Mike Kirkland (left) always believed that a revival of the East African Classic Safari Rally would be a fantastic project. A podium finish on the London-Sydney Marathon Rally galvanised his intentions and inspired Mike to act on his dreams.
After the loss of the Safari Rally from the FIA World Rally Championship in 2002, rally enthusiasts led by Mike decided to recreate the nostalgia of “The Safari” by reverting to the unique characteristics of the East African Safari Rally. Entries restricted to classic cars built before 1974 would avoid the more powerful turbocharged and 4WD models. Rally stage sections would be longer and service support would be limited, just like in the early days.
In 2001, the East African Safari Rally Ltd was formed by Mike, Surinder Thatthi and Mike Doughty. The first event took place in December 2003. The 2003 EASR had 53 entries and ran through Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania clocking up 5,000 kilometres in ten days. Night stops were at exotic and famous hotels and lodges.
Since then, the event has gone from strength to strength. Now in the experienced hands of Raju Kishinani and JS Vohra, the East African Safari Classic is one of the rally world’s last great adventures.
Watch this space for our past rally archives, coming in September 2014! Click on the archive categories to the right to explore previous EASR years.