When Eric Njogu, 41, joined rallying last year, little did he know he would be a force to reckon with this season despite his lack of experience.
His passion for the game and determination have seen him overcome all odds to currently come third overall in the Kenya National Rally Championship (KNRC) S-Class standing.
Due to his good performance in rally, Njogu’s employer, Weetabix East Africa (WEA), has now come on board as his official sponsors.
It was not a bed of roses when Njogu decided to do his first-ever contest at the KNRC Guru Nanak Rally in Naivasha last September.
Njogu and his navigator Tony Kimondo dropped out of the contest after their car, a Subaru Legacy, developed mechanical problems.
Njogu, who did not race in the rest of the series, went back to the drawing board and did a masterplan for himself.
He started with an upgrade of his car to a Subaru Impreza N8 in December and resolved to do thorough training every Sunday on the hilly and challenging terrains of Ngong, Isinya and Kajiado townships in preparation for the 2014 season.
The grand plan finally paid off! Njogu earned his first points in the first series of the KNRC 2014 season in the Mombasa Rally in Malindi in January. He added more power in his gear and improved his ranking in the second series held in February in Machakos.
Unfortunately, he failed to carry on with vigour in the Kiambu leg in March but managed to capitalise on the Nakuru leg held in Eldama Ravine in May, which propelled him to second overall in the standings after ending the contest in 15th place, his best finish ever.
“I know I would have won the Eldama Ravine Rally had it not been for the overheating of my engine,” says Njogu, who is the Route-To-Market and General Trade Sales Manager at Weetabix East Africa.
He finished in 24th position in the Nanyuki series which he says was a nightmare. “I was forced to do the 54km section twice after I developed a bent suspension arm and a blown rear shock that relegated me to third place overall.”
Currently, Njogu is putting his car to numerous tests ahead of the great Safari Rally challenge on September 12-14 whose venue is yet to be disclosed.
“I am currently replacing all the broken parts and will be testing the car in the Kipeto and Ostrich stages before the continental contest,” he told FeverPitch.
Njogu believes he will win the S-Class division this season. He has plan to move to the more challenging N-Class which requires deep pockets, skills and experience to battle the likes of veteran and champions Carl Tundo, Baldev Charger and the others.
The late Ben Muchemi and Sebastian Ogier are Njogu’s role models. Besides KNRC Njogu has now taken up Autocross and Clubman’s rallies to improve his skills.
“I want to build consistency, gain more speed. Through this I know I am on the right path to clinching the KNRC N-Class soon,” says Njogu whose dream is to be a Rally champion, a Motorsport Entrepreneur and unmatched Sales & Route-to-market SME mogul.
Courtesy of Standard Digital News