The highly successful Kenya Airways Safari Classic Rally has recently undergone a few changes in its boardroom but none of these will affect its continuing popularity.
The first Safari Classic was held in 2003 and proved to be a tough challenge for competitors driving in classic cars and showed itself to be a worthy successor to the original East African Safari Rally, last held in 2002. To take the rally forward and carry on the good work, a limited company was formed – East African Safari Rally Ltd. The two men who committed themselves to this enterprise as shareholders and directors were Surinder Thatthi and Raju Kishinani. Since then, four more Safari Classics have been held and they have attracted ever-widening interest throughout the world with entries from not just Africa and Europe, but also from America and Australia.
For the last few years Surinder has been a Vice-President of the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile, the governing body of motor sport, and his responsibilities in that area have gradually increased. In particular, he is charged with guiding the progress of the sport throughout the African continent. Thus he has decided to relinquish his shareholding and directorship of the Safari Classic. He will be staying in place as Event Director with responsibility for devising the route and certain operations of the rally.
His partner, Raju Kishinani, has found a replacement in the person of a well-known and respected friend, Jaideep Vohra, the managing director of Sarova Hotels who is a member of a long-established business family with interests in Kenya. The association between Sarova Hotels and the Safari Classic is already well established since the rally has been using one of the jewels in Sarova’s crown, the Whitesands Beach Hotel Resort just north of Mombasa, as its base for the last four events.
The main sponsor of the Safari Classic is, of course, Kenya Airways who earlier this year announced their continued support of the rally at an al fresco press conference in front of some of Kenya Airways latest passenger aircraft. Titus Naikuni, the CEO of Kenya Airways, was flanked by a selection of rally cars as he made his announcement and presented Raju Kishinani with a suitably large – physically as well as financially ! – cheque.
With a full field of sixty cars (and several more on a waiting list) plus support from one of the most important companies in Kenya, the Safari Classic looks set to have a superb event this November. The event will host more crews than in previous years while the organisers are committed to doubling their efforts to make participating in the Safari Classic an amazing and memorable experience for every participant, both local and international. The management are already consulting with industry experts to see how they can make the whole event more enjoyable while at the same time easier to manage.
There will be some changes over the coming months regarding that side of the business that interfaces directly with the clients. The aim is to ensure that competing on this unique and amazing event becomes easier and yet more enjoyable.