Jim Heather Hayes was named the Motorsports Personality of the Year at the Kenya Motor Sports Federation (KMSF) annual awards gala held at Carnivore on Saturday. The gala, which kicked off the 2024 rally season, was attended by Sports Cabinet Secretary Ababu Namwamba, who was the chief guest.
The ceremony was attended by luminaries in the sports community, who celebrated the outstanding contributions of the motorsports community in Kenya and all those awardees who excelled in different categories.
Hayes, a standout personality in the world of motorsports, was recognized for his unwavering dedication, contribution and participation. The award, which boasts a legacy dating back to the 60s, stands as a testament to Hayes’ enduring passion for motorsports throughout the years.
The Kenya Motor Sports Federation Chairman, Maina Muturi, paid a heartfelt tribute to Hayes, emphasizing that he had consistently demonstrated an exceptional commitment to the sport, setting him apart as a deserving winner of the prestigious award.
The awards ceremony was also graced by the presence of the Group Managing Director of AA Kenya, Francis Theuri; AA Kenya had overseen the Safari Rally before it transitioned to KMSF. He highlighted AA’s unique opportunity this year to engage in sports for road safety purposes through the Best Young Driver competition. The winners of this competition, Kevin Makau Mutua and Lynne Njambi, were also celebrated during the annual awards.
CS Ababu Namwamba took the stage to encourage local drivers, urging them to participate and revive the glory of former Kenyan rally drivers who had once battled head-to-head with world champions. Namwamba promised the Ministry’s support for Kenyan drivers, underscoring the need to strengthen the Kenya National Rally Championship and various motorsports disciplines. He called on sponsors and well-wishers to join hands in restoring the longstanding glory that rally-sport has presented for many years.
The African Rally Champions, Karan Patel and Hamza Anwar were also honored, with Anwar holding the title of continental junior champion.
With the promise of government support and the call for collaboration from Namwamba, there is a bright future for the local rally scene.