Ian Duncan returns to the East African Safari Classic Rally 2017

The East African Safari Classic Rally News Updates

The February 2017 Safari Classic Rally newsletter shares a regulation change and the return of double champion, Ian Duncan!
Welcome to the second newsletter for the 2017 East African Safari Classic Rally. We hope you enjoy reading our latest news. Feel free to email pictures of your preparations for the 2017 Safari Classic Rally through to media for inclusion in the next edition. Please contact us with any questions: we look forward to hearing from you!
**Stop Press** Safari Classic Rally regulations now permit Power Steering
Hot off the press is the news that the East African Safari Classic Rally regulations are being amended to permit power steering for all entries. See advisory text below from the rally’s General Manager – a copy of the letter and full bulletin to follow on the website.

As most of you will be aware, we have changed the vehicle entry eligibility to 31st December 1985. An effect of the change is that various vehicles with ‘power steering’ fitted as a standard feature may now enter the event.

The organisers have recently attracted entry enquiries from new clients wishing to enter cars already fitted with electric assisted steering, as allowed in other long-distance events. Furthermore, historic requests have been made by older clients to use assisted steering on health and safety grounds.

With the above in mind, the organisers have concluded to allow the use of power assisted steering. A bulletin will be circulated shortly, advising officially of the same.

Ian Duncan confirms East African Safari Classic Rally entry
We are delighted to announce the return of two-time Safari Classic champion, Ian Duncan, for the 2017 East African Safari Classic Rally. Ian will be competing in his Ford Capri RS alongside long-time co-driving partner, Amaar Slatch.

With a famous win on the 1994 Safari WRC event and multiple Kenyan championships to his credit, Ian Duncan is Kenya’s most successful modern day motorsport competitor. Overall winner of the 2009 and 2013 Safari Classic rallies, Ian is fondly remembered for his epic battle with Stig Blomqvist on the 2013 Safari Classic, where the competitors entered the penultimate stage separated by just nine seconds.

The final stage of the 2013 event delivered our closest finish yet. Setting off with a 38-second lead, Blomqvist suffered a puncture, losing four minutes and the chance of his first win in Kenya. Duncan claimed a well deserved victory, having matched the Swede’s pace from the start.

“It is a great privilege to add another former champion to the entry list,” said Raju Kishinani, Safari Classic Rally CEO. “These motorsport heroes are huge favourites for the many thousands of spectators who line the rally route to experience the excitement of Safari.

“Our new route for 2017 explores lots of new territory never rallied before. Ian Duncan and his Ford Capri will no doubt be one of the peoples’ favourites for the 2017 Safari Classic, but we are certain that the locals will turn out in droves to cheer all the East African drivers on through their epic Safari Classic adventure. It should be a really spectacular event!”

Rally-winning Ford Escort Mk 1 for sale
Our friend and great rally competitor, Raaji Singh Bharij, has asked us to share details of his rally-winning Ford Escort Mk1 for sale. This classic Ford finished sixth overall and took a class win on the 2015 East African Safari Classic Rally. Its last outing was the 2016 Rift 1000, where it took overall victory – well done Raaji and team!

The bodyshell was built professionally with a fully installed roll cage, seats and belts are within date and there are two fire extinguishers. Quick steering rack, safety fuel cell and heavy duty engine mounts are ready to go. The cabin has twin Haldas, Brantz & Terratrip.

Power comes from a dry-sumped 2-litre Holbay engine with Weber carbs. An upgraded distributor with latest ignition is fitted. Cooling has been upgraded with a 10-litre radiator, high pressure water hoses and a high-flow cooling fan. A twin-plate clutch helps at high RPM and a high torque starter motor is a welcome addition.

Brakes are from AP Racing with hydraulic handbrake. The suspension features Reiger RCV dampers with hydraulic bumpstops. It has rose-jointed links front and rear, including front TCAs and upgraded diff links. The 5.1 differential was new last year. A TVR Type 5 transmission is fitted and was recently rebuilt.

“The car is undergoing a full rebuild and will be sold ready to do the Safari Classic,” says Raaji. “It comes with a comprehensive spares package including gearboxes, diffs, brakes, spare set of Reigers, propshafts, steering rack and column, wheels and tyres and more.

“If someone buys the car for Safari Classic, the great thing is this car is already in Kenya, so no shipping costs. As a rally winner, the car has proved its reliability but of course it would be available for potential buyers to come and do a test day. It would be really nice to see the car do the East African again!”

Asking price for the complete package is $65,000. Email raajisingh to discuss.

Route Survey for new Safari Classic Rally format almost complete
We continue to make great progress on our brand new route for the 2017 East African Safari Classic Rally. The team has now completed over 90% of the route survey and the work has gone extremely well.

"’We have incorporated a lot of new sections for the route, which have not been rallied on previously," notes Ashok Bhalla, the rally’s General Manager. "Many of these are very smooth roads with fantastic landscapes. The present situation is that the roads are well maintained: mostly freshly graded and repaired. At the moment, these sections look fantastic for rallying."

Responding to the threat of heavy rain in October and November, the organisers have added a second advance car to the rally preparations. The 2017 event will feature a five-day car and a one-day car to check for deterioration in the roads and help plan an alternative route, should it be required.

"If at the last moment we receive reports of last-minute problems in certain parts of the route, we will avoid the affected sections," says Ashok. "Our aim for this year is to deliver the same fun and adventurous rally with fewer long days of travelling.

"The route plan aims to be very service-friendly. Most of the days involve relatively short service distances and being based in Diani for four nights puts less stress on the service crews. They avoid the hassle of so much packing and unpacking and allow more time to relax after challenging days of rallying."

A childhood dream come true: Scott Armstrong’s Datsun 160J Safari Entry
Alongside the sporting challenges Safari presents, this rally is a wonderfully social event and the variety of paths that lead to a Safari Classic entry never ceases to amaze. With up to sixty cars taking part on every Safari Classic Rally, each with its own crew of people around it, our community of past and present competitors has hundreds of stories to tell.

We’re sharing these under the “Safari Story” banner and our first piece tells the story of Scott Armstrong, who is tackling the 2017 Safari Classic with Harpal Sudle in the co-driver’s seat. Scott has saved and prepared for years to take part in Safari, doing his first Safari Classic as a mechanic in 2009 and again in 2015 on Nick Mason’s 260Z.

“I was born and raised in Kenya,” says Scott. “We lived there until I was seven years old, when my family moved to the UK. My dad was a big rally enthusiast and took me to watch the Safari Rally, always bringing his camera along too.

“As I grew up, I became increasingly obsessed by a photo my dad had taken of Shekhar Mehta in the Datsun Violet in 1982. Cars have been my passion since childhood and I have always loved rallying. Slowly the dream emerged to follow in Shekhar’s tyre tracks and do the Safari Rally in the same type of car."

“Scott sent me to Tanzania to source this rally car,” says Harpal. “It was used in the original Safari, as what we think was a recce car for the works team. We bought the shell plus parts and shipped them back to the UK. Our car for the Classic includes much of that parts haul. Scott’s dream has been ten years in the making and I am excited to be part of it.”

“The Datsun 160J Violet is one of the most successful cars in Safari Rally history," says Scott. "It won four times in a row (which people have inexplicably forgotten) with Shekhar behind the wheel. I have spent years tracking down original works parts to complete my car to the proper specification and it is almost ready – just a few jobs to do before shipping.

“It will be a very proud moment when we become the first team to bring a 160J Violet back to Safari for almost thirty years. I have been a "helper" on two Safari Classic events and made good friends as a result.

“My team of buddies includes Pali (the loud one), Billy (the crazy one), Idris (the sensible one) and three of my UK rally service crew friends: Kevin, Alan and Lara. We are hoping to get to the end without too many problems. It will be a once-in-a-lifetime adventure and I can’t wait to start the Safari.”

What a fantastic journey! We will be very excited to wave Scott (below, left) and Harpal (below, right) off on their epic adventure this November!

Send us your story

We love to hear how our competitors and their crews came to Safari and the stories of your preparations and ambitions. We look forward to sharing all photos and stories across our channels between now and the start of the rally. Send your Safari stories to media.

Download the latest rally bulletins
For those interested in attending the 2017 Safari Classic Rally or taking part in the event, there is plenty of information available to download on our website.

The full Rally Regulations and the Official Entry Form for the 2017 East African Safari Classic Rally are both available for download here.

Bulletin 1 is available to download in the 2017 downloads section. This covers amendments to the previously published regulations for the 2017 Safari Classic Rally.

Competitors Information Number 1 is available in the 2017 downloads section of our website. This covers hotel room upgrade and supplement rates in addition to the standard rally entry fees. Follow our social media feeds for all rally bulletins as they are released.

Email us with any questions regarding our rally or to discuss the 2017 event.

Safari Social Media: Follow our Channels
The East African Safari Classic Rally is active across many social media channels. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or check out our website by using the buttons below. Tag us in your pics or share your content with us using the hashtag #safariclassic !
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