Kenyan female rally drivers do not attract a lot of corporate support, a women’s sport right group has claimed.
Women in Sports (WIS) Kenya, a lobby that advocates for empowerment of females in the male-dominated sport claims that the whole country currently has just about a half a dozen of an all-women crew, all who lack funding.
“Currently, we have about six all-women crew without funding, with their rally cars just sitting in their backyards,” WIM-Kenya Vice-Chairperson Tuta Mionki observed.
“One of the things we did was to first understand why women aren’t getting sponsorship to rally and see how best to repackage our game. We looked into ways and means through which to have women grow into karting drivers; basically to increase numbers in the discipline and help them rise through the ranks into autocross and finally the rally-sport. We also explored the possibilities of women running training rallies which is the only way we can show aspiring women that it’s not only a sport for men.”
Among Kenyan all-women teams currently on sabbatical due to lack of funding include the Rally Chicks, Warembo Bila Mekap, Divas On Wheels of Carol Gatimu and Kui Mungai, Amira Hedgals of Hellen Shiri and Haraka Mamas of Joan Nesbitt and Tamara Jones.
At the same time, Tuta disclosed that the Covid-19 outbreak in Kenya slowed down planned empowerment of females in motorsport.
“WIM-Kenya had identified a home in Nairobi and another in Narok for mentoring and we were in the process of getting to involve them in karting before the Covid-19 issues cropped up,” she said, adding that the noble initiative is a deliberate move aimed at creating an enabling environment for women racers.
The plan is geared towards empowering more females to savour equal opportunities to compete at the highest level of the sport.
The unprecedented move is part of a five-year strategic plan envisaged to grow young and budding talent at the grassroots level of the male-dominated event.
“Motorsport has been perceived to be only for a certain group, which is not the case. You can actually participate in the sport in many facets and still be part and parcel of the adrenaline, joy, and growth of the sport.
“The girls will be handed the rare opportunity to taste the intensity and adrenaline which characterizes the sport through go-karting.
Go-karting has produced some of the country’s best drivers including current KNRC and Safari Champion Baldev Chager and Tejas Hirani who went on to participate in the FIA RX Lites Championship.