By ADRIAN MWANZA -
NDOLA racing driver Leroy Gomes was delightfully shocked to have won the season opening Madmax 2018 national rally held in Chisamba which attracted the best cream of all Zambian drivers.
Gomes finished first in the rally that also had two former African champions in Mohammed Essa and Jassy Singh besides the current Zambian champion Muna Singh junior.
Added to that was a wet terrain drivers had to cope with following rains that overwhelmed Lusaka and Chisamba over the weekend.
Gomes admitted in a post-race interview that he was surprised that he won the Zambia Motor Sports Association (ZMSA) season opening race and added that he would not relax in the remaining events of the season.
He clocked one hour 52 minutes and 57 seconds to win the race ahead of Farook Ticklay, who timed an hour 53 minutes and 26 seconds.
“We did not expect this because of a number of factors like the weather, the competition and then we got to the finish line behind Farook but we did not realise we had caught up with him,” he said.
Just eight of the 19 drivers that started the race managed to finish as most of them crushed out.
Among the casualties were Jassy, last year’s Madmax Rally winner Miles Monge with Essa opting to stop after stage three to save his car from the adverse weather.
Kleevan Gomes took third place clocking one hour 57 minutes and 35 seconds with Vyon Pinto crossing the checked flag in fourth with a time of two hours and 52 seconds to take fourth position while Geoffrey Chulu took fifth position on two hours four minutes and 25 seconds.
Haminder Singh was sixth timing two hours 12 minutes and 24 seconds followed by Muna junior ho hit two hours 23 minutes and 26 seconds and Mayur Patel closed the group with two hours 24 minutes and 28 seconds.
Muna Junior expressed disappointment with seventh place finish and blamed the weather for the poor finish but promised to improve his fortunes in the next rally.