The 2016 Southern Motor Club (SMC) Rally enters in the books of this year’s National Rally Championship series after the night stages made the event a memorable one.
The SMC Rally started on Saturday with the morning rains showering off the dust of Pine Ridge before the crews took on two runs of the double circuit track.
A big crowd of fans thronged Pine Ridge to witness the battle of who takes the Super Special Stage (SSS) lead.
The drivers pairings did not disappoint.
It was Ronald Sebuguzi and Jas Mangat that shared the SSS win posting identical times after two runs.
The Super Special Stage was the curtain raiser of real action; the night stages.
By 6pm on Saturday the crews took a rest before the night stages as fans stormed the stages of Kaddugala and Kasana Kinobera to take the best viewing points.
By the time the drivers and fans who were clueless of how competitive nights stages can be and couldn’t just wait to experience the moment.
Ronald Sebuguzi was flagged off into the 5.7km stage in Kadugala followed by rival Jas Mangat. And later crews covered the 25.90km Kasana stage.
Ronald Sebuguzi came out the winner of the night stages. He posted the fastest time in Kadugala and was just three scone behind Arthur Blick in the Kasana section.
As drivers returned to the Parc Ferme after the night stages, the crews of Ponsiano Lwakataka, Kuku Ranjeet, Ambrose Byona, Jonas Kasiime, Edward Kirumira had mechanical issues limit them.
Kawowo Sports had drivers give their opinion of the night stages.
“It was really exciting to drive at night. I think we should have them more in our rallies. They gave us a different element of competition,” said Leon Ssenyange; who was calling the notes for Ronald Sebuguzi.
Jas Mangat feels the stages would be even much better on closed routes.
“The night stages were really good am sure both the drivers and fans enjoyed themselves, but they would be better on closed routes. On closed routes its easy to monitor and also rescue can be done easily unlike on such routes,” he said.
“Organisers should also take enough time to prepare for such stages to check the probable challenges on time,” he added.
For Omar Mayanja, he saw the best stages ever in the SMC night stages.
“The stages were the best I have seen in years 95percent, the surface was smooth and covers high speeds, technical and very enjoyable for the drivers and spectators,” he said.
“However, I would only recommend that next time night stages stay away from swamps with broken bridges or water altogether,” he added.
Other crews all have different feel of the night stages both positive and negative.
2. Jas Mangat/Joseph Kamya 200
3. Hassan Alwi/Enock Olinga 135
5. Duncan Mubiru/Bashiel Mbogo 75
6. Kuku Ranjeet/Musa Nsubuga 75