NAIROBI, Kenya, July 4 – Being a second-generation rider has its ups and downs. For one thing, you’re always under pressure to do even better than your superiors and you’re always striving to establish a decent reputation in your rallying career.
But for Zameer Verje, the three-time Kenyan two-wheel drive non-turbo buggy autocross world champion, it’s a steep learning curve.
“As a second-generation rider, you never stop leaning. There is usually this ambitious force to emulate your predecessors.”
“But then again, there really is a critical balancing act between performance and survival. The demanding conditions of a rally constantly reshape your character,” said Zameer.
Incidentally, Zameer enjoyed a first WRC Safari finish on his third rally, driving his Subaru Impreza to fifth overall.
He also finished first in Division 3 and was overly excited to beat the two Rally3 Fiestas of Jeremy Wahome and McRae Kimathi.
Zameer comes from a family of rally drivers. His uncle Mo Verjee and father Nazir Verjee competed in Safari Rally of old and multiple Kenya National Championships.
“To be born in an environment where cars and mechanics are present is a great feeling.”
Zameer enjoyed his third rally since debuting in the KNRC KMSC season-opening rally at Il-Bisil.
“We had a few teething problems with the car, which is normal when you get used to something new,” he said, adding: “We missed the ARC Equator Rally which was a practice run for WRC Safari so we did missed the opportunity to feel the route beforehand. That was definitely the toughest rally I’ve ever driven as a rally driver.”
“But Safari couldn’t have come at a better time as the world champions battled it out for the world’s toughest rally. It was a whole new experience for me, and even more so to see how the event caused them a tough time.”
Zameer has been accepted into the Kenya National Rally Championship Class and believes he has settled into his Impreza.
“Definitely, my expectations are much higher this year than last year after graduating from the autocross series,” said Zameer.
“I wanted to learn and get used to the car. But the Safari finish has meant a lot to my racing career and I feel like I have the confidence to go faster and aim for decent results.”
As a second generation driver, Zameer has always longed to be part of the fabled Safari Rally.
“Safari Rally is one of my dream races in the KNRC series. My ancestors in our family have many stories of this event.
“Before the event, I had seen several videos with many adventures, especially this one fesh fesh at Kedong, which was marked with a red flag. The legendary old-time safari stages were exciting: some good lakeside spots. It was an incredible experience to compete on the legendary tracks and rub shoulders with the crème de la crème of sport that we only see on TV,” says Zameer