• Racing Queens hours away from rallying glory

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Nov 27, 2011-

Samira Khan and Anita Irwin have survived another two tough and treacherous days of the 2011 East African Safari Classic Rally and only have one day, three sections and 157 kilometres of rallying left before they see the finish back in Mombasa.

The trip through the Great Rift Valley and up around Lake Baringo was a difficult period for the two girls in their Ford Escort.

Continuous rain had forced the organisers to cancel the second stage of Day seven and then, whilst the Rally Queens were tackling the mud in the third stage news came through that the section had been cancelled.

This was a blessing in disguise as the alternator belt had snapped and the battery on the Ford Escort was now dead.

Day 8 began with a reverse run of the final stage of Day 6 and the girls enjoyed the run up towards the Ngong Hills. The notorious early morning Sunday Nairobi traffic caused the girls to arrive at the next stage late but they flung the Escort around the Athi River spectator stage with gusto.

The third section of the day was rather difficult as the odo stopped working, meaning that Anita was forced to judge distances between obstacles purely by guesswork.

Despite this the pair survived the stage and commented on how nice it was to have dust in a section for a change! The final stage of the day might have been short but it had a sting.

A mud hole near the beginning caught most of the field out and whilst being towed through the mud Samira then the tow rope left attached to the rally car it soon created problems by wrapping around the left front wheel and damaging the brake line! This coupled with only one headlight working created more difficulty as daylight faded.

Samira was relieved to see the end of day service but sad to complete the penultimate day of the rally. “We took a really hard hit tonight and I’m a bit worried about the poor car. I’m really sorry that the rally is almost over as I’ve had so much fun this past week.”

With only three stages left the Rally Queens look set to upset a number of the male competitors as they currently hold a top thirty position… pretty impressive for a pair of girls with limited rallying experience!

 

Samson Ateka

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