In 2001, the East African Safari Rally Ltd was formed with Mike Kirkland, Surinder Thatthi and Mike Doughty. The first event took place in December 2003. The event had 53 entries and ran through Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, covering 5,000 kilometres in ten days. Night stops were at exotic and famous hotels and lodges.
The East African Safari Classic Rally has since been run every two years, and continues to thrive. Here, we introduce the team behind the event.
Kenyan-born Raju is a successful businessman in several countries, but his roots remain firmly fixed in his ancestral East African soil.
A lifelong supporter of the East African Safari Rally, Raju’s first desire was to be involved as a competitor. When this did not transpire, Raju invested in his passion for this legendary rally and took a controlling interest in the company.
Raju’s primary aims for the East African Safari Classic are to firmly establish this renowned East African Heritage Motor Rally on the global canon of must-do events, to build on the rally’s formidable reputation and help it to scale new heights in competitor excitement and reward.
Raju is a serving board member of the Kenyan Motor Sport Federation.
Rally Manager, Pipi Renu, began his rallying career almost three decades ago, working for many local rally stars on events across Kenya and Tanzania. In 2003, he joined David Sutton’s Historic Motorsport organisation, which led to an association with many of the world’s best drivers and on to rally event management.
Pipi learned his event management expertise from the ground up. Well known to all members of the vibrant East African rally community, Pipi is a highly respected member of the KMSF Rally Commission and an essential part of Safari Classic Rally management.
An accountant by profession, Darshna Shah joined the EASR team in 2015 and is the current Rally Secretary.
It is impossible to list all of Darshna’s responsibilities in one place. Suffice to say that anyone entering the rally will be dealing with this most efficient and organised lady. Her roles include recording all rally business, project management in conjunction with the rest of the management team, entry co-ordination, financial management, local and state official interaction, shipping liaison: the list is endless!
We are fortunate to have Darshna on board: a worthy successor to our much-loved former ‘rally supermomma’, Rushmi Bowry.
Richard Leeke from South Africa is the current Clerk of the Course. Richard brings considerable experience in rallying to our team and has long been one of South Africa's premier co-drivers.
Richard was South African Rally Champion co-driver in 1977 and won the Toyota 1000 Desert Race seven times between 1984 and 2004.
He worked on the Safari Classic as Deputy Clerk of the Course in 2005 and 2007, and was Clerk of the Course for both the 2013 and 2015 rallies, so knows our rally and its community extremely well.
Jaideep S. Vohra 1954 – 2017
Known fondly as JS, Jaideep Vohra was managing director of one of Kenya’s biggest hotel and tourism groups: Sarova Hotels and Lodges. He was also the chairman of the East African Safari Classic Rally.
JS was a keen sportsman with special affections for rallying, having been a long-time motorsport enthusiast and a former chairman of the Kenyan Motor Sport Federation. An active chairman of the Hotel Keepers’ Association, JS brought a wealth of business experience in the all-important tourism industry to the running and managing of the rally. His passing was a great loss to our team and we will never forget his instrumental contributions to this unique event.
The 2018 East African Safari Mini-Classic Rally is held in honour of JS and his family, with all entry fee proceeds going to charity.