By Theodore Opara
The 2016 Eleko Motor Race may have come and gone but the memories will remain with the spectators and participants for a long time to come. Prior to this edition of the event, one may have wondered about the level of interest in motorsport around these parts. Well, going by the number of participants and spectators at the scenic Eleko Beach proves that this is growing phenomenon in Nigeria.
Activities started with a drivers briefing on Friday 16th December at Basilico Restaurant V.I. This involved drivers and navigators, volunteers, race control team, timekeepers and the race director. This pre-race meeting focused on the Vehicle inspection and accreditation. There was also a session on the 26-kilometer route with an in-depth training on how to navigate the course using the route book.
Saturday, December 17, morning started bright and early with a beautiful breeze blowing across the sands and through the beach house that served as race control.
Alongside the drivers and their beastly machines were gathering spectators comprising of motorsports enthusiasts, fans from the inner city of Lagos as well as citizens of the Eleko Community. On hand to welcome spectators to this year’s edition was the grand patron of the Eleko Motor Race and a respected leader in the community Alhaji Saheed Balogun.
3 different races held at this edition of the Eleko motor race: the main race event which was for the competing 4X4 vehicles and two side events: The Tricycle race, and motorbike race. Both of these were specially organized for the youths of Eleko.
The motor race featured a total of six racing special stages, 26km in all. The race route was specially selected to really test the skills of each team comprising of a driver and navigator along the rugged terrain. The special stages were timed to reflect each team’s performance along the route.
Back at the beach house, the over 200 spectators were entertained by the show the indigenes were putting up with the tricycle, motorbike race, while the DJs rocked party music endlessly. The entertainment climaxed during the finals of the motorbike race where riders displayed their ability to control and manoeuvre their bikes in different laps.