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Concours provides fun-filled day for car lovers

The sun struggled to shine, the breeze was a little chill, but no matter. The cars still gleamed, and the spectators came to the CBA Africa Concours d’Elegance.

On Sunday, and once again, it was at the Nairobi Racecourse down the Ngong Road. It is a very smart and popular event, our Concours – and it must be now one of Kenya’s best day’s out for the family. It was a day of elegant and eye-catching fashion, too.

The emphasis was, of course, on the showing of classic cars and for these, once again, the programme listed a full house of 77 competing ones.

Though, of course, it was their owners who were doing the competing. After the many hours spent rebuilding, repainting, titivating and polishing, there’s no wonder that the competition sometimes had quite an edge.

But, in the main, it was simply for the love of cars that the competitors had lavished so much of their time and not a little money.

And Kenyans, particularly, love cars – and motorbikes. What has been noticed over the years is that there are more and more African competitors in an event than in its early years – the first one was in 1970 – was dominated by Kenya-based Europeans.

RECORD COMPETITORS

The ‘Africa’ in the full name of the event – the CBA Africa Concours d’Elegance – is also becoming more and more significant: this year there was a record 24 competitors from outside Kenya.

Matthew Wilson, with his Yamaha VMax, was the first ever entrant from Rwanda. There were 15 members of the Uganda Bikers’ Association who rode their ‘Big Street’ or ‘Trail and Enduro’ motorcycles from Kampala to Nairobi.

Uganda also had four classic car entries, and there were other competitors from Tanzania and South Africa.

Throughout the morning there were flypasts by Safarilink Aviation, and after lunch, fortunately when the sun had burnt off most of the clouds, the parachutists of Skydive Diani performed a dramatic free-fall, pin-point onto the racetrack.

There were also more grounded and static shows: the 25 stands of the Auto Expo of new vehicles and accessories; a classic car sale; and the Heritage Collection, a fascinating exhibition of machinery from the old days of farming – machinery such as two steam engines – one of them working ‘in steam’ – a Ferguson tractor, and a number of farming implements.

For more participatory things, there were plenty of places for al-fresco eating and drinking, as well as the old favourite, Steve’s Steakhouse. And, while parents were enjoying all those things, their youngsters were very well looked after at the Brookside Kids Zone.

As for the completion, the two overall winners were:

1. Overall winner of the car classes: Phoenix Aviation’1928 Ford Model A Tudor

2. Overall winner of the motorcycle classes: Sati’s Classics’ 1925 DKW