Kenya: Dutchman Vos Lauds Kenya as Land of ‘Milk and Honey’ After Dramatic Mini Classic Win

Eldoret — For newly-crowned East Africa Mini Classic champion Dutchman Remon Vos, competing in a rallying competition in Kenya for the second time has been an experience that has reaped more rewards than just clinching the title.

Vos, who had initially finished third, was bumped up to the first position after the disqualification of defending champion Baldev Chager and second-placed Piers Daykin for deviating from the prescribed route of the rally.

However, for Vos, an executive director and CEO of Amsterdam-based industrial property development company CTP, he has seen more than enough to convince him to return to Kenya in the near future to explore what the country has to offer beyond the Safari Classic.

“It is a very nice country with a lot to offer… People are very friendly and I also think there are many fantastic opportunities business-wise. It has a young population and very well-built infrastructure and the roads. I am impressed by how well everything is built so… yeah, there are definitely many reasons to come back to the country,” Vos said.

Driving a Porsche 911, the 52-year-old began the rally on Friday on the front foot, posting the fastest time at the Solai-Bogoria stage (90km), in addition to clinching Metkei-Kapkitony 2 (82.35km) and Kipsaos-Muskut (62.66km) on Saturday and Sunday respectively.

Commenting on the race, Vos saluted his experienced navigator, Stephane Prevot, for being his ‘eyes and ears’ on road during the three-day rally, proving his reliability and trustworthiness in the cockpit.

“Running such a great race is down to the team and the car and … of course, Stephane’s help. He is someone who has been doing this for many years. For example, I remember, at the second stage, he told me to go right and I asked him if he was sure but he told me to trust him. Other cars went straight through and yeah… it is what it is,” Vos said.

Also smiling on his way home was Raaji Bharji who was placed second, following the penalty on Chager and Daykin, after a disappointing Saturday during which he had been slapped with a five-minute penalty for taking a bridge instead of the river crossing at the Kapkitony 1-Kipsaos (69.88km) stage.

Raaji’s redemption

Driving a Ford Escort MK1, Bharij, had seemed on course for his first East Africa Mini Classic title when he surged to the top of the drivers’ standing with a 5:32 lead ahead of second-placed Daykin.

The 2016 Topfry Classic champion was also crowned winner of the Class 3 (up to 2000c) category albeit he admitted he needs to do better at the next rally.

“It’s been really challenging. We led Day one and Two but then we got a penalty yesterday (Saturday) that dropped us back. Today was very much suited to the bigger cars so we’ll come back next time and make a win. However, we have won our class (up to 2000cc) so that’s good,” he said.

Day Two leader Daykin bemoaned a bad day in the office after a steady and safe run through the two days during which he had put himself in the ‘drivers’ seat’ for glory.

“The first stage of the day was good … everything well but the last two stages were a disaster. I don’t think we broke any rules on the last stage but we got lost. Both of our GPSs stopped working and we hadn’t no distance calculation. It is almost impossible to navigate in such a situation. It’s not been a good day of rallying,” Daykin, who was driving a Datsun 280Z, said.

According to the stewards’ report, signed by chair Surinder Thatthi, Daykin was guilty of breaching Article 5(ii) of event regulations when he deviated from the defined rally route at Singore-Chebiemit (58.55 km) stage.

“Car 3 deviated from the defined rally route in CS8 at 31.50km and the tracking shows a deviation of 6.57kms off the route thus missing 21 tulip diagrams. Having considered the matter, the competitor did not follow the prescribed road book,” the stewards report said.

Chager, bidding for his third consecutive Mini Classic title, was penalized for deviating 6.57kms off the route thus missing 21 tulip diagrams – also a breach of Article 5 (ii) of the Event Regulations.