December 23, 2023 Posted by Jackson In Uncategorized

Rally legends who ruled the tracks


In the annals of Ugandan motorsport, the name Gerald Kiddu resonates as a tragic legend, a daring rally driver whose untimely demise left the sport forever changed. Kiddu’s life was one marked by audacity, skill, and an unyielding passion for speed, making him a focal point in the nation’s motorsport history.

Despite never clinching the national championship, Kiddu’s impact in the two fully active years of his career was nothing short of spectacular. His weapon of choice, the famous Golf GTI, became synonymous with his fearless approach on the tracks. Navigated by the equally audacious Paul Hendrickx, the duo embarked on a journey that would etch their names in Ugandan motorsport lore.

Kiddu’s earlier years saw him maneuvering the streets of Kampala in a Toyota Levin, setting tongues wagging with his breathtaking speed. Acquiring a Toyota Corolla Estate in 1984, courtesy of Hajji Lule, Kiddu faced initial challenges with an inferior car but showcased undeniable talent that won him admiration from fans.

Joining the Dembe rally team in the early ’90s, Kiddu found himself alongside rally luminaries like Karim Hirji and Frank Nekusa. The team, armed with a Golf GTI, became a force to be reckoned with, and Kiddu’s rivalry with the likes of Chipper Adams added a dramatic flair to the rallies.

One of Kiddu’s most memorable battles unfolded at the 1995 May Day rally in Lugazi, where he fiercely contested the second position with Adams. The seesaw battle ended with Kiddu securing the runner up spot in the final section. Weeks later, he displayed extraordinary bravery in the Victory rally, overcoming a dangerous rollover to finish third.

The pinnacle of Kiddu’s career came when he triumphed in the Nile beer rally, defeating the formidable Emma Katto. The 1995 Agip Independence rally in Masaka further solidified his daredevil reputation, as he drove on three tires after losing a wheel mid race, eventually finishing second with the fastest average speed in the last sections.

Venturing beyond Uganda, Kiddu showcased his prowess in the Great Lakes rally in Kenya, racing at an astounding 210 kph. His performance convinced Karim Hirji to entrust him with the powerful Celica GT4, leading to a shift in the motorsport landscape.

In the 1993 Coronation rally, Kiddu, now navigating with Nekusa, was on the cusp of victory when a tragic incident unfolded – the accidental death of a fan cost him the top spot. Misfortunes continued in the 1996 Kampala Casino rally, where a collision with two cows dashed his lead.

The pinnacle of Kiddu’s career arrived in April 1997 when he outpaced rally giants like Katto and Muhangi in the Kampala Casino rally. With 14 rallies since January 1995, Kiddu’s worst finish was third, solidifying his status as the nation’s rally maestro.

Tragically, on May 15, 1997, Gerald Kiddu’s life was cut short under mysterious circumstances at the age of 40. The sport lost a luminary, and to this day, the questions linger what championships could he have won, and how different would Ugandan motorsport be with Kiddu still at the helm?

BY Mwambazi Lawrence

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