As navigator Absalom Aswani would put it, the art of communication between two parties comes down to a common understanding.
This could come to fruition through spoken word, written word, body language, sign language – and the list goes on and on.
In a rally cockpit, communication between the driver and co-driver is key to achieving good stage times as well as enhancing the safety of both.
“Anyone can mess up but it is how you react that will determine the direction of things. I’ve always owned up and been clear with my position which helps the driver to know what to do. I get the same from my driver Evans Kavisi. Honesty is key since both of us determine our eventuality.”
When a rally car is going flat-out on a gravel speed test, and both the driver and navigator are trying to hear each other over the din in the engine and gearbox, a communication device quickly falls into place.
“An intercom system is a communication device that helps drivers and us navigators to flawlessly communicate, and most importantly, for the co-drivers to call the notes,” Aswani quips.
Basically, a rally navigator or co-driver is probably the most crucial individual on a rally team.
“Pace notes are written descriptions of the road conditions ahead. Before the start of a rally, organizers provide a Road Book that has route instructions. The navigator will give directions to the driver and make sure they get to the right place,” Aswani narrates.
Aswani, who will be co-driving Evans Kavisi in the KCB Bank sponsored Mitsubishi Lancer EvoX, reveals that all rallies are run on a strict time schedule and each section of a rally has a specific time for each car.
“A rally navigator is the chief timekeeper and monitors these times down to the second. The most important job is making sure a driver and car are when and where they are supposed to be during a rally.”
Aswani: has always loved the thrill of sporting on edge. He has tried his hand at boxing, martial arts, rugby, and then motorsports.
Asked how he succumbed to the lure of calling the pace-notes, Aswani went on: “Navigation was the easier option compared to driving and I got stuck here as soon as I had the motorsport bug. Thoroughly enjoying it!”
MORE ABOUT ABSALOM ASWANI
DOB: 18th December 1979
RALLY DEBUT: 2008 April, Eldoret Rally in an Ex-Azar Subaru Legacy with Raymond Kiruki
LAST RALLY: East African Safari Classic Rally
FIRST KNRC AND RESULT: Kcb Biashara Banking Rally Eldoret 2010: finished 18th
FIRST ROAD CAR: Toyota Starlet EP70
LIVES IN: Nairobi
CAREER BEST KNRC FINISH: 2nd runners up KCB Machakos Rally 2021
CAREER BEST TNRC FINISH: Winner Tanga rally 2013
MENTORS: Pastor Julius Ngige and Azar Anwar
MOST ADMIRED SPORTS PERSONALITIES: Sebastien Loeb, Baldev Chagar and Eliud Kipchoge
1. Won Tanga Rally 2013
2. 2nd Moshi Rally 2014
3. Winner Group N 2014 TNRC, (driver emerged the champion)
3 2nd Mkwawa Rally Morogoro Tanzania
4. 3rd ARC Dsm Tz (twice – 2013/2019)
5. 2012 Safari Rally 2WD winners
6. 7th in Guru Nanak Rally of 2013 with Azar Anwar
7. 3rd 2021 KCB Machakos Rally
8. 25th 2021 East Africa Safari Classic Rally