I had looked forward to this event so much that occasionally I had dreams about it in its run up. And boy it did not disappoint one bit. The 2016 edition of the Masinga drags and gymkhana time trial and car festival was way bigger and better organized than last year’s inaugural event.
As a petrol head as soon as I saw the entry list I jizzed in my pants. 3 Nissan GTR R35’s were gonna be in action? Including one tuned by well-known factory tuners NISMO, this was going to be epic. The other Subaru’s and Evo’s were trembling in fear I bet. But, there was no room for fear in a closed down airstrip packed with precision performance machines and drivers will steel encased gonads aching to fulfil their need for speed.
So finally the long awaited weekend was upon us. The journey itself to Masinga is an exciting one, good straight roads with little traffic so you can guess how the drive was. Let me leave it at that lest the most redundant and useless organisation in Kenya Also known as the NTSA start raising eyebrows or worse still, come up with more pointless rules to justify their wasting of taxpayers hard earned shillings.
This time round there were racing teams most notably JDM Racing Ke, PA Racing, and Auto Art racing (Jina Kubwa). PA racing had the Nismo GTR, the Passat and 2 Imprezas’. JDM had the freakishly photogenic red GF8 which won last year’s drag races, the Blue 900N impreza, a green starlet as well as the light blue WRX. Auto art did not field any team but it was recognised for the tuning of several cars at the event including the NISMO GTR.
Well then, we got to the airstrip, the bevy of beauties, and by that I meant both cars and women, the charged up crowd, the anticipation all seemed like the right ingredients for a perfect event. Soon as the engines started revving, the ladies started screaming and I couldn’t stop smiling.
The two day event involved gymkhana which is a driver focused form of motorsport where the goal is to achieve the shortest time possible in a section of track marked out using cones or barrels. What separates gymkhana from autocross is the tight manoeuvres the driver has to perform including hairpin turns, figure 8’s, quick reversals, 360 degree turns among others. The driver has to memorize the track and push his car to the limit to achieve the shortest time possible.
The second day of the event was the drag races. The organisers, Club TT motorsports saved the best for last. Drag race involves two cars, side by side in a straight line and as soon as the light goes green, the drivers’ hit the pedal to the metal. This event is more about the car and all the driver needs to do is to have a very quick reaction time to launch and shift gears at the right time.
Well to be honest, the GTR’s being supercars had the greatest chance of winning the drags because of the almost anal attention to detail that went into its design and assembly including the famed haematic ally sealed room where its engine is assembled so as not to let any dust particles into the engine. The other thing is the 50-50 weight distribution and the launch control which unleashes the close to 500 horses’ power house in the engine bay. The gymkhana however was anyone’s game.
After two days of tyres screeching, exhausts poppin and the fast cars whizzing by the spectators, the petrol head’s dream weekend finally came to an end and as I had predicted, The Nismo GTR R35 was the overall winner and also recorded the fastest time of 12.9 seconds in the drag races. Second overall was another R35 then third overall was a Mitsubishi Evo X followed by another Evo X.
Subie nation’s first representatives came in fifth in a GF8 STi followed by another Subaru Impreza GC8. The results were clustered in twos GTR’s then Evo X’s, Then Subaru’s, clearly showing the superiority of Japanese tuner cars. But one thing is for sure, if a 2015 STi was in the running, it’d be a whole different story.
A preview of what went down over the weekend at the Masinga Dam Airstrip.