Ever since I started attending the Rallies, we always found everything ready and set up at the grounds. All we had to do was arrive, make entry payments and prepare to eat a whole lot of dirt or mud, depending on the weathers mood. You are probably thinking “eeeeeew”.
This time it was different as IUEA hosted the Eastern Motor Club Jinja Rally. Big up to rally organizers, and big up to IUEA for ensuring that the two-day event went smooth. A big thank you to everyone that turned up to show their support. Was it exhausting? Absolutely. Did everyone’s hard work and presence bear amazing fruits? Absolutely! Why do I sound like the organizer? Haha, I was only there to capture the moment.
We left Kampala-Uganda at 3:20 AM for Jinja. The roads were clear but the drive was long as the rains were too heavy. Excited that the day would probably not be scorching hot, we made it to Jinja at 6 AM, dropped off our luggage and headed to the race track, the Hared Grounds.
Matoke, katogo, rice, beef, ugali… all these were being sold by the Hared Grounds gate. They are heavy meals but believe me, they are a necessity for a day packed with so many activities, leaving little to no time to have a meal.
Securing a good spot is very important, and securing a good spot is what I immediately did because catching all the action is the main goal. At the Fort Portal Rally I almost broke my back coming down from the roof of the IUEA school bus. You would think I learnt my lesson, but the red Coco Cola truck was calling my name. It was stationed by a tree, therefore getting sunburnt was not part of the plan (or so I thought) as it always has been.
We set up IUEA banners, teardrops… all branding material you could think of, went to have a plate of rice and beef, bought energy drinks for my friend and I, spoke to the Coca Cola manager who granted us access to sit on top of their truck, and they also threw in a few empty crates to act as chairs. The pro of this truck is that it had a ladder, and the con is that I broke a nail, again. It wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be getting onto.
There was a group of IUEA members that dealt with ticket selling and searching those that came in. I did not envy them. The numbers were way too many.
As it had rained heavy over the night, the race track was wet, muddy and slippery. The last time this happened, drivers had accidents and my body was hitting panic mode. We were the hosts, we had to win.
The 2 wheel category drivers had it rough, but luckily by the time they were done, the sun was out, paving the way for the 4 wheel team members. Short-lived it was as one of the drivers lost control and went straight into the audience. Grateful that the damage was not bad, the safety team came in and suspended the race for the day. It wasn’t a competition anymore, but keeping in mind that people paid money to watch the competition, the drivers came out and impressed us with their driving skills. This was the best I had ever seen Hassan drive. The pictures must say it all. I got off the Coca Cola truck, I had to get closer. My goose bumps were SO visible, with a smile on my face as I took pictures. Once in a while you would hear me screaming in joy. Happy I was to be a part of the IUEA Rally Team. We were most definitely taking the trophy home.
Quick question, have you ever been in the presence of a King before? Well up until 7th March, I hadn’t. It was a great pleasure to meet, rather see from afar, the Kyabazinga (King) of Busoga Kingdom, Wilberforce Gabula Nadiope IV, fully geared in a race suit. The crowd went crazy in excitement. Apart from watching Hassan win, this was the moment many waited for. No one would have thought that the King of Busoga Kingdom would participate, and he did a fantastic job as the ‘Race Finale’ for the day as the honored guest of the IUEA EMC Jinja Rally, 2020.
I repeat (from my last article), movies lie. I always imagined that all King’s did was sit on a throne and make demands. My perspective has fully changed.
We have a pilau ritual, where everyone comes together and eats. It does not matter who you are or where you are from, there’s always enough pilau for everyone. I haven’t yet received the recipe but I am working on it. Those that have tried it can testify. It always comes at the right time. You’ve spent a whole day under the sun, walking up and down, famished… what more do you need other than pilau, kachumbari ‘na kafirifiri’ (with fresh chilies) dressed in fresh lemon juice squeeze. Heaven.
Remember we set off quite early for Jinja and had been up ever since. The fatigue was winning and all we could dream of was a bed. IUEA was hosting therefore unlike the other rallies, we had to be fully present on the second day all the way to the end. IUEA staff and students got onto the school busses and headed to their place of residence for the night. It was a good day. March 7th.
I missed the ‘Day 2’ race as I had to help set up the venue where WE and other top drivers would receive our respective awards. This moment needed to be documented and indeed, it was, every second of it. Hassan Alwi Jr and his navigator Joseph Kamya took first place and were followed by Ponsiano Lwakataka with 1 minute and 10 seconds behind.Arthur Blick Jr who was competing in his first event this season completed the podium in third position.
Out of 48 participants, only 20 teams completed the competition and I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate you all. It doesn’t seem like an easy sport but they make it look super easy.
To top the rally event, we celebrated Hassan’s birthday. What a way to win. We had cake, took lots of pictures, packed up, everyone got onto their respective buses/cars and set off back to Kampala.
It was about 7 PM, Sunday evening, and majority of us had 8 AM classes as usual, while the rest had to report to work. The experience was and always is worth it. Congratulations to the IUEA Rally Team which now stands in 3rd place at the NRC rankings, with 100 points.
To everyone that showed up, thank you for your love and support. The first rally I attended, we were 4 in total that attended the rally and now, we fill up two buses.
Let’s do this again despite the immense sunburns I’m trying to nurse.