By Frank Kaheesi
WITH a consistent provision of big fan base on the continent and across her borders, Uganda needs to tap into the economic gains attached to rallies like WRC safari Rally.
Many questions are left un answered, like what do Ugandan rally fans gain from trekking journeys to watch cross-border rallies, does their home government sponsor them, or what are the returns for their spent monies.
A confession came out of Safari Rally host president, H.E William Ruto, who was the chief Guest at the ceremonial flagg off of 2023 WRC safari rally, out poured that: He wondered why many Uganda flags were raised high at racing zone unlike the hosts.
This comes at a time, when Uganda misses to have a representative at this year edition, as the crew of Yasin Nasser and Ali Katumba withdrew their entry at last minute due to budget.
Uganda has a rich attached history to the Safari Rally, with a number of her celebrated legend drivers taking part such as the lates Shekhar Mehtar who won the Safari a record 5 times, Asuman Junju, Sospeter Munyegera, Charles Muhangi, Frank Nekusa, Major David Ndahura, plus the living ones.
They marked their names on the Continent’s top tie event, and live to be celebrated by lovers of the sport.
It’s on record, Kenya financial gain from WRC Safari rally for 2021-22 editions through tourism and other incomes generated 456.5 Million US Dollars (63 billions kenyan shillings).
The rally also generated million views on social media and global media platforms, outside Kenya at a higher pointer of tourism.
With the high addiction Ugandans have for rallying, how can they gain from the big generated income returns our neighbours reap from the Safari.
Simple answer or formulae could be, supporting crews that have compatible machines to race at WRC event.
At official flag off car at Uhuru Park on Thursday, world champion Sebastian Ogier, confessed that; “I can’t imagine the Love Ugandans have for rally, as the WRC Safari rally seems like their home event.”
“I can’t imagine, how someone drives his posh Mercedez Benz from Kampala, to Kenya just to watch rally, have you ever seen any Kenyan doing so,?” a kenyan police officer was heard asking a colleague with whom they were guarding VIP parking lot at Kasarani special stage.
Aday earlier, another official at shakedown in Loldia when clearing fans was heard saying; “It’s the continued support these Ugandans have given that has kept the Safari live.”
When contacted on same issue, Uganda’s Vice President Motor Rallying present at the Safari, Reynold Kibira intimated ; “Rallying is like a religion in our country, we can only support our fans cause by helping out our drivers be part of Safari.”
The seventh round of the World Rally Championship (WRC), attracted 32 entries, running for four days in and around the beautiful scenaries of Kenya with climax set for Sunday afternoon.