The 2022 East African Mini Classic will remain etched in Rajveer Thethy’s memory forever.
The 20-year-old all-rounder sealed the weekend’s deal after finishing the Eldoret-based Mini Classic Rally in 24th overall position and in the process, became the youngest driver in Kenyan history to enter and finish a classic event.
This was no mean feat, given the grueling nature of an event which traversed some of Kenya’s most challenging and fabled routes including the world-famous Cherangany Hills.
Rajveer’s feat follows his previous weekend’s performance at Kasarani’s SSS-WRC Safari twin track where he racked up the Open Class title during the season-closing double-header of the National Autocross Championship.
Rajveer was called upon- at the eleventh hour -to fill the void left behind by Evans Kavisi who was taken Ill a few hours to the marathon race which started in Nakuru and ended in Eldoret after covering a total distance of more than 1000km.
The Nairobi based driver landed the opportunity to drive Harpal Sudle’s Datsun PA 10 courtesy of Eric Bengi who recommended him to the Minti Motorsport outfit as a last minute replacement of Kavisi.
“The Mini Classic Rally 2022 was my first classic event and being the youngest ever competitor to take part in it was such a great feeling.”
“All in all, a pleasant surprise, as I was only called upon by Minti Motorsports as a last minute replacement. Unfortunately, Evans wasn’t feeling well, and as such, he couldn’t take part.”
Rajveer achieved his fairy tale drive behind the wheel of a PA10 incidentally owned by UK based Kenyan Harpal Sudle.
“It was my first time driving a car with a Weber engine and no power steering so it was an interesting challenge but I got the hang of the car in stage 1.”
“The car was fun to drive, it’s rear-wheel drive so we were going sideways in the corners,” says Rajveer, son of the 2003 Kenya 2WD Rally Champion Charan in a VW Golf MK2 GTI , explained.
Rajveer’s dad Charan is incidentally in his service crew alongside Sudle. Charan did his first Rally in 1999 in a Subaru Leone before moving to his championship- winning Golf and to 4WD with a Subaru GC 8.
He then retired with the Daewoo Cielo in 2015 before joining autocross which he currently competes with his son Rajveer.
Charan Thethy remarked: “Rajveer drove Harpal Sudle’s car in the Mini Classic, and we would like to thank him for allowing Rajveer to use his car.”
For Rajveer, it was also his first time sitting with Absalom Aswani, who was his navigator during the weekend.
“I met him (Absalom) for the first time during Day 1 of the race at breakfast. He had good experience in the sport so it wasn’t much of a challenge for him and we had great communication in the rally sections,” Rajveer , a former Autocross Junior 2WD NT Junior champion and a top 10 finisher at last year’s Guru Nanak Rally, said.
“The route was quite challenging; it had a lot of steep hills where the car struggled and we faced some clutch issues but we managed to make it to the finish line finishing 24th overall,” continued Rajveer.
Asked about the last minute experience to grace the curtain-raising Classic fixture, Rajveer went on: “The feeling was out of this world when we climbed the ramp to collect our prize, the whole team was full of excitement and joy. I was proud to be a part of the team and indeed to stand with them at the finish line.”
Rajveeer: “I’m glad that I have etched my name into the history books, and it would take a very special feeling to replace the current status as the youngest ever classic finisher on Kenyan soil.
Harpal congratulated Rajveer for the drive in his hometown of Eldoret:
“We prepped the Datsun in the UK; got it only 24hrs before the start and blew the engine on its way to Nakuru. We replaced the engine in good time, started it and just gave the boy some seat time. Had a few issues with the car, but that’s just the name of the game,” Harpal expounded.