Raaji Bharij surprised everyone when he won the inaugural Top Fry 1000 Classic Rally Safari Rally held in baringo County over the weekend.
The upstart and little known Bharij who was navigated by Rajay Sehmi, driving a Ford Escort MK1, beat world renown rally drivers to victory in a rare version.
He beat all odds to to emerge victorious ahead of Kenya’s top drivers like Ian Duncan, Alistair Cavenagh, Carl ‘Flash’ Tundo and his father, Frank Tundo among others.
He was not only too good for his Kenyan counterparts, but also outdid guest drivers from United Kingdom and South Africa. Bharij was the fastest in a time of 10 hours, 49 minutes and 16 seconds in the three-day event that saw drivers and their navigators go brave dusty roads across Baringo and Elgeyo Marakwet Counties.
After completing the herculean task, an ecstatic Bharij repeatedly expressed his joy, saying he was happy because he had been waiting for such a memorable time.
“I’m very happy. I’m very happy because I have been waiting for a moment like this for a very long time,” Bharij said at Loruk, after completing his last competitive section.
Geoff Bell, navigated by Tim Challen in a Datsun 240Z, were second in 11:01.31.
Bharij was impressive from day one, finishing fourth behind Tundo, Bell and David Maslen. He got his big break on the second day as he took a comfortable overnight lead of 16.06. With the title within his reach, Bharij remained focused and cautious to win his first major title.
Jonathan Savage, navigated by Kieren Day, was third in 11:17.06, while Kailesh Chauhan veered of the road, damaging his Ford Escort MK2 after he hit a tree stump. He was fourth. Chauhan and Malik recorded a time of 11:24.36, while UK’s Richard Arrowsmith was fifth in 11:28.06.