The year 2013 was not short of excitement for Motorsport fans and drivers but the banning of several drivers by the Federation of Motorsport Union (FMU) tainted a bad image of the union.
Jas Mangat retained his National Rally Championship (NRC) title but narrowly missed on the Africa Rally Championship (ARC) crown.
Besides, not so many events defined motorsport this year as ISMAEL KIYONGA writes.
Jas Mangat dominance felt:
Despite missing Mbarara rally, the first event on the FMU calendar, Mangat came out strongly and began his title defence with a second place finish in the Freedom City CMC Rally.
If that wasn’t enough, Mangat went on to claim four consecutive victories at the Martyrs’ Day Rally in June, Pearl of Africa Rally in August, MPU Rally and the Independence Rally in October.
That was enough to make him champion with an event to spare thus his decision not to participate in the Mount Elgon Rally in Mbale in December.
ARC Title eludes Mangat once again:
It was yet another year of disappointment on the continent for Uganda and Jas Mangat in particular after the ARC title became elusive again.
Triumphs in the Tanzania rally in May and the VPower Shell Pearl of Africa Rally in August left him as favourite for Africa’s top prize but a mechanical breakdown prevented him from claiming the title in the Mountain Gorilla Rally in Rwanda thus left everything to be decided in the Madagascar Rally.
Unfortunately, he crashed out in the Madagascar Rally leaving Zambia’s Jassy Singh to claim the ARC title.
Had he won the continental title, he would have become only the second Ugandan to claim the ARC title alongside legend Charles Muhangi who won it in 1999.
FMU bans drivers:
In what was the lowest point in Motorsport this year, FMU; the local sport’s governing body banned four drivers – Nasser Mutebi, Duncan ‘Kikankane’ Mubiru, Godfrey Nsamba and John Burrows Lumu for six years.
Reasons advanced for this harsh ban was insubordination and perhaps formation of what FMU called a disrespectful Uganda Motor Rally Drivers Committee (UMRDC) that aired out drivers’ grievances.
Surprisingly, the banned drivers were not given opportunity to table their defence and thus went to courts of law to seek justice.
Lifting the ban:
Finally, the bad image that had tainted the sport was overcome as FMU and the four banned drivers reached an out of court settlement that led to lifting of the ban.
Nevertheless, the administrative problems that the drivers raised prior to the ban are yet to be resolved