For obvious reasons, the name Richard ‘Happy’ Katehangwa doesn’t ride waves in the motorsport community. But it belongs to an ambitious man, who thinks he can beat the odds and claim a top five finish during this weekend’s FMU Jinja Rally.
Katehangwa made his National Rally Championship (NRC) debut during the season opening Lato Milk Mbarara Rally in January, where he finished in 13th position. That gives him hope for better fortunes.
“Motorsport is a tricky sport. People fear the big names but even those of us who are new in this sport can shock them. In Mbarara, for instance, (Ronald) Ssebuguzi did not finish the race, which means I beat him because I finished in the top 15,” boasts Katehangwa.
Sponsored by Bunga Bet, Katehangwa believes his Subaru Impreza N8 stands a better chance in Jinja. “Mbarara was a bit tricky because it was my first race against the big boys of the sport. Now I know what to expect. Jinja is going to be a loose race, with many slippery corners because of the rainy season. If my car can hold firm throughout the race, I expect to finish in the top five,” added Katehangwa, who will be navigated by Steven Bunya.
Katehangwa, 39, joined the sport in five years ago, competed for two seasons in the 2-Wheel Drive category before taking a sabbatical. He returned this year and decided to upgrade to the NRC. His motor rallying passion was ignited by Charles Muhangi, the 1999 Africa Rally Champion, with whom they share a lot in common.
Muhangi, who made his name in the transportation sector through Horizon Coaches, inspired Katehangwa to start Happy Transporters, where he owns lorries and omnibuses.
“He (Muhangi) is the reason I am in the transportation sector and motorsport. I was his fan and I fell in love with the sport and his business acumen,” he said.