Monday, March 14, 2016

They are Legends

A year ago I said something on these pages that I regret. Please allow me to make amends.

Art is a funny thing. It is manifested in music, painting, song, dance, film, sculpture and a myriad of ways. Those of us who grew up in the eighties and nineties can declare with authority to the creation of art by Michael Jordan, His Airness, when he redefined "hang time" as the champion who led the Chicago Bulls. I believe that Stephen Curry's ball-handling for the Golden State Warriors qualifies as art.

Last year we lost two great artists: Amir Mohammed and Jay H.V. Soni. Great artists, you ask? Yes, good people. Great artists.

When I was a student at university, I thought that the British Bulldog rumble of the Aston-Martin DB7 was a thing of wonder as was the 9,000 RPM scream of the S2000. I remember the utter fearlessness of Juan Pablo Montoya when he raced for BMW Williams F1 as almost spiritual when measured against the Spanish hot-bloodedness of Carlos Sainz in his Ford Focus claiming victory after victory on the World Rally Championship circuit. Mr Mohammed and Mr Soni ascended to this pantheon for their attention to detail, dedication to excellence and their fearlessness when it came to putting pedal to the metal. If my friend Hiram is to be believed, and he always is, these two legends defined and redefined road-racing and car-tuning.

It has been a year and I cannot imaging the utter pain their families must feel, suffer, because these two are no longer among us. If it wasn't for their vision and clarity of thought, so much wouldn't have been done in such a short time to legitimate what was seen as a fringe area of motorsports in Kenya and I hope that the fact that we think of them as legends offers their families a measure of comfort. We live on in the memories of our families and friends, and I have no doubt Mr Mohammed and Mr Soni will achieve immortality.

While it is the Club TT Motorsports that tested their mettle as road-racers, I believe that it is the Great Run that defined them as men of honour. They didn't have to do it, but when they did, thy did it with their hearts in the right place. I wasn't enough for them to tell one of Kenya's stories from a different angle, they did it with an honourable end in mind: giving back to the community in which they lived and prospered. Few of us ever get to do the right thing for the right reasons;I believe they did and for that, even more than for their skills behind the wheel or under the hood, they will remain legends for the right reasons to the peoples of Kenya.

I cannot un-say my stupid, insensitive and intemperate words; they shall serve as a reminder never to take things at face value. I can only ask that if they are where we hope they are, that in between oil-checks, tyre-changes, suspension setting-ups, that they spare a kind thought for a fool and intercede on his behalf with the Great Racer Himself. Rest in peace, Sirs, and keep those corners tight and those horizons clear.

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