With slightly under six months remaining before the eighth East African Safari Classic Rally zooms off, the big boys are sparing no expense in ensuring their classic machines are in good shape for the challenge head.And with a considerable number of entrants burning the midnight oil in various locations, some have gone the extra mile to shake off a few cobwebs at recent rallying competitions across Africa.
Geoff Bell, a veteran of five Safari Classics, and his navigator Tim Challen, ventured into Morocco for the Maroc Historic Rally to gauge their preparedness for the 2017 Classic that will run from November 23 to December 1 in Kenya.
“Having participated in a number of competitions since 2015, we feel we are now in very good form. Chances are high that we will be on the podium in 2017,” Challen said.
Earlier this year, Bell and Challen tackled the annual Safari Rally – the Kenyan round of the FIA African Rally Championship – and deservedly won the Classic class with a 14th place finish at the wheel of the Datsun 260Z which they will use at the Safari Classic.
South Africa-based Bell is now seeking to lay his hands on the coveted Safari Classic title that has proved elusive in the past few editions.
Jonathan Somen is another seasoned campaigner eying the honours and he recently took his hardy Datsun machine to the high-altitude Eldoret Rally terrain in Kenya. Somen clinched the KNRC Classic Car category title by returning a credible 13th finish against all expectations.
Meanwhile, two-time Safari Classic champion Ian Duncan is yet to test his Ford Capri in a rally this season.