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. 2015 marked the most successful year in our event’s history: a record of sixty entries with ten more waiting as reserves. Sixteen different countries were represented in the most recent Safari Classic Rally.
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, eventually taking 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.
Jaideep S. Vohra
Known fondly as JS, Jaideep is managing director of one of Kenya's biggest hotel and tourism groups: Sarova Hotels and Lodges.
A highly active Chairman of The Hotel Keepers Association, JS is also a very keen sportsman and has special affections for rallying.
JS brings a wealth of business experience in the all-important tourism industry to the running and managing of the rally, not to mention a focus on overall customer experience.
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.
Ashok Bhalla has been involved with the East African Classic Safari since 2007 as the rally manager. Ashok has over four decades of rally organization experience and is now the event manager.
A navigator in his younger days, Ashok is winner of several championships in Kenyan rallies, and has also officiated as a FIA steward in all ARC rounds for over three decades.
An accountant by profession, Darshna Shah joined the EASR team in 2015.
Darshna handles the day-to-day running of the EASR office, as well as managing many other important tasks on behalf of the partners. Darshna is the Secretary of the 2017 event.