The first event was going down at The Great Rift Valley (TGRV) Circuit in Mai Mahiu famed for go karting and also loved by the biker gang. This was the first time cars were going to be on the track for an organized timed competition, an interesting way to mark the 4th anniversary of Club TT Motorsports Kenya. I have to say, the TGRV circuit sits on the floor of the Rift valley, so coming down the escarpments from Nairobi, you don’t really notice it but going back up, the view is quite breathtaking, perfect location for such a significant event.
So the early morning drive down to Mai Mahiu was quite brisk and uneventful. There were two great fear factors responsible for this, as the road is carved off an escarpment, there’s an extreme drop off on one side and rocks on the other, both deadly if something were to go wrong. Fortunately on the long drop off to the floor of the Rift valley, you at least have time to say a prayer or punch the driver if you were carpooling before the car becomes a massive fireball.
At the TGRV Circuit all cars were being searched because according to their rules, you either surrender the drinks at the gate or pay half the value of the drinks to the management, they were calling it “corkage” which was just a load of BS for me.
The TGRV TT was unique in many ways, for starters Super bikes, cars, and Go karts would all be participating in separate heats. Secondly this circuit would allow spectators to see all the action, start to finish, from a variety of vantage points which was a huge plus because this amps up the entertainment value. The third reason is a personal one, a BMW 335i was in the line up so in that regard, receive my apologies for the N/A cars comment in the first paragraph.
The other cars in the entry list were Two Mitsubishi Evo X’s, Two Evo V’s, Galant Fortis Sportback,Two Toyota Starlet Glanzas, Starlet GT, Subaru Legacy BG5 STi, Legacy BL5 STi, Subaru Impreza GF8 STi, Subaru Impreza GC8 STi, Subaru Impreza N12 STi, Mercedes Benz W124 and THE BMW 335i. The stage was set, 2 German versus 14 Japanese machines, but as you all know it’s not all about the car, but the madness of the driver as well.
All the cars took a hit at the track on separate heats doing about 5 laps each. The hairpins, short straights and slow turns made the track very interesting for the cars. The Subaru’s struggled with the hairpins lunging forward in fits of under steer, the Achilles heel of the Subaru (Pre 2015), but the drivers with their reputations and Egos on the line performed awesome recoveries and blasted on wards making the crowds go wild. These hairpins were a walk in the park for the Evo’s because of the witchcraft being performed by the cars computers, another group which found it easy on the turns were the Starlets owing to their size which made their weight easy to shift around. The M3 being the only rear wheel drive car in the competition not to mention the heaviest, put on an amazing show spinning those rear wheels at the turns, with the its angel eyes flickering as it approached, that was one sexy ass beast.
The Fan’s favorite was arguably the Silver Subaru WRX STi N12 which had it right on the Set up, Performance as well as the noise. My word, the rumble this car made every time it flew by was just magnificent, enough to win a Grammy if you ask me. The driver also meant business so it wasn’t all flair.
The bikes took the turns quite differently, leaning in almost kissing the tarmac on the hairpins, massive points on the entertainment value. Then unlike the cars, they all went on track at the same time so it was a full on race. The spectators got a rare treat to view the entire race because of the design of the TGRV Circuit. It was quite a different Experience from the Murang’a Kiambu Ring, and Masinga Time trial events where the viewing position mattered quite a lot and there was crowding at the start and finish lines. I’m not a bike connoisseur so I don’t have the deets on the makes and models but all I know is that they went super-fast and made quite a racket, and this was good enough for me and the rest of the fans.
As for the Go Karts, not much action here, Except the baby who seemed less than 5 years old and was driving on track without any help. An ‘Awwww” moment for the ladies and advice for the Gentlemen to Start teaching the love of cars to their kids while young, do this and they’ll never have enough money to buy drugs.
That marked the End of a very interesting TT for the participants and fans alike. You can watch the whole event on the link below.