August 16, 2022

COMPILED AND WRITTEN BY: Asgar Sidi | asgarsidi@hotmail.com

The third edition of the East African Mini Classic Rally will be held in December and will be organised by the East African Safari Rally Limited.

The opening date of entries opened on the 4th of July and closing date is 30th November 2022. The rally starts in Nakuru on 9th December and finishes two days later in Eldoret.

The organisers have come up with a special discount on the event which will be carried forward to the eleventh edition of the East African Safari Classic Rally (EASCR) which will be held in 2023.

Competitors paying $1500 entry fee for the Mini Classic will be discounted from the main East African Safari Classic Rally in 2023. This offer is only eligible to the entered driver.

The route survey has commenced with new Clerk of Course, Onkar Kalsi.

Kalsi steps into the big league after years of being in the organising teams in the Kenya National Rally Championship series. The Panel of Stewards includes the former East African Safari Classic Rally (EASCR) owner Surinder Thatthi and WRC Safari Clerk of Course Gurvir Bhabra.

Bhabra was one of the finishers in the 2021 EA Mini Safari Classic. He drove a Nissan Patrol to 23rd overall and sixth in the Raid category. He was navigated by Daven Jadeja. Also in the organising team is Ida Tallam.

Tallam is the Rally secretary. On her debut on the KCB Nanyuki rally in 2004 she navigated Sammy Nyorri to 25th overall, then followed that with a 29th overall finish in the KCB Guru Nanak rally. She has since gone on a sabbatical break from the co-driver’s seat.

Onkar organised his first proper rally when the Sikh Union Club (SUC) were given the task to organise a round of the 2021 KCB Kenya National Rally Championship (KNRC) series to fill the gap left by Eldoret’s Western Kenya Motor Club.

The KCB SUC Voi rally was a new rally in the national championship calendar. It was also the 157th rally in the new millennium counting towards the Kenya National Rally Championship. The fourth round of the 2021 KCB KNRC series was won by Karan Patel and Tauseef Khan who took a long-overdue maiden victory.

Onkar is the son of Dali Kalsi who navigated Ramesh Khoda to 24th and 16th overall position in the 1980 and 1981 Marlboro Safari rally respectively.


The first edition of the Mini Classic Safari was organised in 2018 in memory of JS Vohra, the patriarch of Whitesands Hotel based in the South- coast of Mombasa where the headquarters of East African Safari Classic Rally was based. Vohra passed away when his vehicle rolled in Amboseli while following the East African Safari Classic Rally (EASCR) rally in 2017.

The second edition was held successfully during the tough Covid 19 pandemic period in 2021. The Mini Classic is the forerunner of the bigger East African Safari Classic Rally which was moved to 2022 due to logistics arrangements after the Covid 19 outbreak.

The EASRC was started by Mike Kirkland in 2003, later it was taken over by multiple FIA African Rally co-driver champion Surinder Thatthi.

Both Kirkland and Thatthi, have never participated in the East African Safari Classic Rally though Kirkland has finished third, just 32 seconds ahead of British legend and two-time RAC rally winner Roger Clark after 16000km of rallying in the London to Sydney marathon rally in 1993 with Crispin Sassoon in a Peugeot 504 Saloon.

Two models of the 504 Saloon were prepared by Sassoon’s company Automarine based in Mombasa. The second car was driven to seventh place by David Horsey and Michael Kearns. Horsey missed sixth place by a close margin of 60sec to the Ford Escort Mk 1 of Colin Short. The third edition of the marathon was won by Francis Tuthill and Anthony Showell in a Porsche 911.

On Kirkland’s 19th, and last Safari, in 1991 he finished seventh overall in a Nissan Pulsar. He was navigated by Surinder Thatthi.

Joey Ghose then brought back more memories of the true safari when he bought the franchise of the historic event through the now very famous Minti Motorsport.

Runaway victories from powerful cars were not the ideal way to go, whatever the quality of the car and driver in the past edition of the Classic Safari Rally so for the 2021 Mini Classic Safari the new organisers under Joey Ghose not only invited drivers but also provided cars through their Minti Motorsport arm.

Minti group recruited five well known drivers, no fewer than four of whom (Carl Tundo, Ian Duncan, Eric Bengi, Evans Kavisi) are active contenders in the Kenya National Rally Championship series, and the fifth, Maxine Wahome , was coming into the team with just ten rallies to her name after making debut in the 2021 WRC Safari rally. Joey has transformed the event into more accessible for other competitors.

Joey has invested heavily not in only in the major and the Mini Classic Safari but also by providing historic rally cars for local drivers, something which has never been done by previously.

One driver who has sponsored other competitors and overshadowing the rally organisers in Kenya was Asad Khan, known as ” Kalulu” to his many friends.

During the 2008 KCB Visa Card Mombasa Rally, Khan paid entry fees for all the ten cars entered in the Two-Wheel Drive championship category which was running behind the main event.

Joey’s entry in the Motorsport circle in Kenya has brought the Minti Motorsport major landmark records in the history of Motorsport in Kenya and the continent of Africa.

In their debut season Minti Motorsport provided a Datsun 160B for the 2018 Group N and Division 1 champion Eric Bengi and a Datsun 160J Violet for Maxine Wahome.

Bengi, with Mindo Gatimu, became the first all African crew to drive a Datsun in the local scene since Sam Sali of Uganda drove a Datsun PA10 in the 1983 Coke Cola International rally.

Maxine became the first African lady driver to finish a rally driving the 160J model. She was placed 17th overall with Safina Khan.

Minti Motorsports had three cars at the finish with team boss Joey Ghose taking 12th place in a Datsun Violet with Imran Khan.

The Minti Motorsports then bagged the biggest title when they won the 2021 FIA African Rally Championship (ARC) title in their debut year. They had provided the latest R5 VW Polo for Carl Tundo and Tim Jessop to clinch the 2021 FIA African Rally Championship title. It was the first title for VW since Zambia’s great Satwant Singh won the third of his eighth African continental title in 1991 in a VW Golf.


Boldy Chager, the four-time Kenya national rally champion new mark of five wins in the historic events is a record. His five victories make him the most dominant in the history of the historic events.

It comes 30 years after he clinched the Clubman Rally Championship in an Opel Ascona 400. It puts Boldy three ahead of Bjorn Waldegard, Rob Collinge and Ian Duncan in the last fifteen (ten East African Safari Classic Rally, two Mini Classic Rally and two Top Fry 1000 Classic Rally) historic events held in Kenya.

A master tactician, Boldy Chager is still more capable of turning on the speed when necessary. Ice cool and calculating, Chager has this year had far too few KNRC outings but his victory on the East African Safari Classic Rally (EASCR) was exemplary.

Boldy has yet to confirm he will back to claim a hat-trick of wins in the third edition of the Mini Safari Classic rally in the silver, green and yellow Kabras-sponsored Porsche 911. He has become the first driver to have taken the Historic events victories more than any other driver since the first historic event took place in 2003.

When Chager, the three times Safari rally winner, won the 2022 East African Safari Classic Rally not many people knew that he became the first ever driver to win all the historic events held in Kenya.

He has beaten South Africa’s Geoff Bell and Kenya’s Onkar Rai in the two edition of the Top Fry 1000 Classic rally. Finland’s Tapio Laukkunen and Kenya’s Ian Duncan in the last two Mini Classic rally.

Boldy underlined his recent dominance at the marathon Classic Safari rally with a composed and controlled drive against world class drivers in the Tuthill Porsche team and the locals, Ian Duncan, Raaji Bharij, Lee Rose and Piers Daykin.

Boldy’s another victim was Sweden’s Patrik Sandell on the last East African Safari Classic rally. He outclassed the former WRC seasoned driver by leading the tenth edition of the EASRC without winning a single stage, it was a master class driver against the mighty of the Tuthill Porsche team earning him the master of the historic rally tag.

Rally victories don’t come much more convincing than this one – especially against a rival as formidable as Sandell and the Tuthill Porsche team.

In the first edition of the East African Mini Classic Rally in 2018 Chager, navigated by Ravi Soni, had a tensed fight with multiple Finland champion and the 2016 Kenya national champion Tapio Laukkanen.

Laukkanen, who initially seemed nerveless in his first historic rally on Kenya soil, led on three of the nine stages, but broke the front suspension on his first drive in a Porsche 911 and had to settle for second place with Gavin Laurence. Team principle Onkar Rai was supposed to have driven the Porsche 911 but due to business commitment he could not start the event and gave the car to Laukkanen.

The Porsches clean-sweeped the first four positions, with Raaji Bharij in third. Former giant killer in a Range Rover in the local championship, Rob Linck, came out from three-decade sabbatical break to finish fourth. He had hired a Porsche 911 from Aslam Khan and was navigated by Aslam’s nephew, Imran Khan.

Imran’s father Arshard Khan navigated legend Jayant Shah to eighth overall, with the man Joey Ghose in thirteenth position! Ghose was making his debut on the classic event and was navigated by Harpal Sudle in a Ford Escort MK1.

In 2021 Boldy Chager and Ravi Soni emphatically preserved their remarkable two-year unbeaten run on the event with a seven-minute victory over legend and two-time EASRC winner Ian Duncan to take a dramatic win in the Porsche 911.

Duncan and Geoff Bell, driving a Rover SD1 Vitesse and Datsun 240 Z respectively, drove well but were unable to match the intensity of the king of classic in the event for long enough to contain him.

The Minti Motorsport Datsun 180 B driven by Eric Bengi finished eighth.

Maxine Wahome and Safina Khan became the first all-woman crew to finish the rally in an historic car when they finished 17th in the second Minti Motorsport entered Dataun 160 J Violet.

For the first time in over two decades Boldy was forced to miss this year’s WRC Safari Rally after major sponsors Kabras decided to take a break from the local season.

But Boldy was very much involved in the WRC Safari and was ahead of the four Toyota Yaris which took an historic 1-2-3-4 clean sweep!

Boldy was given the duty to carry out the duty of a route opener. He drove a ex-Peter Horsey Mitsubishi Evo 10 which was hired by the organisers from the owner Asad Anwar. Boldy was navigated by Gareth Dawe.

The Classic rally winners have always led the way in the WRC Safari as in 2021 Ian Duncan did the route opening in the same car.


2021 was the year when the organisers allowed the off-road Raid vehicles to compete. The class received a total of nine entries.

After battling thought out the three-day event Mark Glen beat Ross Field by 1:35min to win the class. The two CR-T’s finished fourth and fifth overall pushing Raaji Bharij to sixth place in the overall standings.

Ross is son of veteran safari driver and one of the best chase car drivers, Bruce Field. Bruce drove a Tuthill Porsche 911 to fifth in the 2003 EASRC with Jan Thoenes.

Raaji was navigated in the 2016 Top Fry 1000 Classic winning Ford Escort for the first time by the 2017 KCB Safari rally winning navigator Gavin Laurence. He’s the only driver other than Bjorn Waldegard and Ian Duncan to have won an historic event in a Ford. Waldegard win came in 2007 in the Escort Rs1800 while Ian Duncan won in 2009 and 2013 in a Mustang and Capri model respectively.

Porsche have won a total of nine of the past fifteen historic events with Ford three and Datsun two whilst Triumph has won once.

The last two edition of the Mini Classic has been won by the three times Safari rally champion and the 2022 East African Safari Classic winner Boldy Chager and Ravi Soni in the Kabras entered Porsche 911.

Memories in the East African Safari Classic Rally and the Mini Classic Rally are not just for enthusiasts, they are for everyone touched by the sport.


  1. Joey Ghose navigated Lynda Morgan (Now Hughes) in the 1984 Marlboro Safari Rally?
    The pair were forced to retire in Car No 53 after the Toyota Corolla stopped with mechanical problems at the end of Leg 2 in Nairobi after covering a total of 3070km out of the 5233km spread over five days
  1. A Peugeot 504 pick-up starting with competition No 11 was driven by African Rally champions David Horsey and Dave Williamson?
    This locally assembled vehicle was prepared and entered by AVA. This historic winning car is still alive and now owned by the Pipi Renu, the General Manager of the East African Safari Rally Limited.
  1. The Opel Ascona 400 in which Boldy Chager won the Clubmen Rally Championship was entered in the 1984 Marlboro Safari Rally?
    Seeded at Car No 22 was the ex- Jochi Klient Opel Ascona 400 which was driven by Kenya based Japanese driver Yasuhiro Iwase and Sudhir Vinayak. The car retired with mechanical problems in Kijabe on the second leg.
    The car then went on to finish fifth in the WRC Rally of Argentina in 1984 with Iwase at the wheel and navigated by Surinder Thatthi.
    The Kenyan registered KWC 269 Opel was then acquired by Boldy’s father, Daljit Chager. He posted top-five results in the local championship before Chager claimed the CRC championship. It has since been sold to a historic car collector in Germany.

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