Armstrong/Sudle ship the Datsun 160J for Safari Classic Rally

UK-based teams are putting the final touches to their preparations before shipping cars and equipment to Kenya for this year’s Safari Classic. Shipping from Britain takes at least six weeks, so cars leaving the UK in early September should arrive in Mombasa in mid-to-late October.

Kenyan-born Scott Armstrong and Harpal Sudle (now respectively based in Coventry and Leeds) have finalised the necessary paperwork for their Datsun 160J and will be shipping to the Kenyan coast later this week, well in time for this year’s marathon spectacular.

“Scott has been working tirelessly to meet the deadline for shipping,” says Harpal. “Three weeks ago, we didn’t have an engine and we almost pulled out. We were badly let down by the first engine builder, but then Andy Dawson stepped in to help. Andy is a veteran Safari tech who worked with Nissan back in the old days. We were lucky to get his support. The engine build was completed earlier this month, so we will definitely be shipping later this week.

“Every Safari is different: no one knows what to expect from the weather or the stages. It’s really a magical feeling and the excitement is building for us. The car and parts should be there on the first week of November, and we will do some local testing once we arrive in Kenya on November 12,” confirmed the experienced Harpal, who has been involved in all Safari Classic rallies since the 2003 original.

Scott has never competed in Africa and this will be his first outing as a competitor. He has worked as service crew on the 2009 and 2015 Safari Classic, when he helped Balvir Grewal and Nick Mason. Read the full story behind his 2017 Safari Classic Rally entry here.