Thursday September 4 2014

My wheels: Peter Kakaire,‘Rallying is all about discipline’

Peter Kakaire’s Subaru Impreza. He did not

Peter Kakaire’s Subaru Impreza. He did not parcipate in last month’s ARC event in Matugga because he had earlier been involved in an acident. He says discipline is key to rallying. PHOTOS BY ISMAIL KEZAALA 

By Gumisiriza Mwesigye

Where did this love for racing start?
I have been racing since I was a child. I grew up in Jinja with wide roads. We had a “young people’s racing club”, it was not a club as such in that sense but we all had bicycles and racing each other on those wide roads. I think I was the fastest and most daring as a teenager. In fact, I broke both arms competing and racing on bicycles.

Is this where you trace the origin of your competitive spirit?
Where it came from….I think it is because of my personality. I am a high drive kind of person. What they call a Type A personality. Although there may be different personalities in motorsport, we are all very competitive. It is a passion thing, when you have a passion for something, you can do anything. Anyone can have a passion despite their character.

So, it was from the bicycles to cars?
At that time while I was racing on the bicycles, I was also watching the rallies when they came to the east. The UMC, Covmo and all those rallies in the 1980s and I promised myself that one day I would participate in a rally. It was my dream.

Was there any driver in particular that inspired you?
There was Jimmy Dean, Sam Ssali, Karim Hirji, Kuku, Kaka, that generation was very inspiring. After that, there was Charlie Lubega, Lumala, Chipper Adams, that was an interesting generation.
Then, enter the current crop, the Ssebuguzis, Jas Mangat, Rwakatakas. But I liked watching motorsport on TV. There was a show where I saw people like Sheka Mehta, Waldegaard, Carlos Sainz.

Is this what led you into motorsport?
I bought a few sports cars that I was driving on the streets. But I broke the ice in 2009 by participating in a circuit in Laluluga in a Toyota Celica GT4. I put nice tyres on it.
Though they were used, they were rally tyres. I didn’t have a full roll cage. It was a bolt-in roll cage, it is screwed in, others are usually welded into the car. However, it did not finish the circuit because the clutch I had was a standard clutch, it got burnt. It couldn’t take in the kind of stress and performance needed in a rally environment.

Were you disappointed?
No, I went home feeling good that I had achieved my dream to get into a rally. I was confident that whatever was broken would be fixed.

What happened next?
The car was taken to a garage when it had been prepared for the rally. The person who had helped me fix it was Faisal Tezikuba, who used to drive and also owned a garage, Auto Performance Garage. It was stripped to the bare…it was like a “skeleton”.
The engine was out, the gearbox, the dashboard, the seats, the lights, all these fenders, everything was out. My first reaction was a depression, I thought they had destroyed my car. The garage guys laughed at me and told me this is how they do it in rally, building a car from scratch.
Clearly, your rallying did not end there?
Yes, I built the car over a period of eight months to make reinforcements that were needed. I had been thrown in at the deep end as I was not given a chance to make choices. I accepted and when it was ready I started driving it.

How many cars have you had since?
Three. I had the Celica, which I sold off. I bought a Subaru Impreza N4, which won the two championships in 2010. Then this one, Subaru Impreza N10. The first was built for me, the rest I have built myself. So, pretty much, I have the experience.

Any last word?
Rallying is not just about driving fast. There is the element of speed but as a driver and FIA trainer, I have to point out that there is a lot more. One has to have discipline to follow the rules and regulations, make preparations, to listen to instructions and directions, to watch out for his or her safety and that of others. This takes time to develop it, it has to come organically.