The season-opening Mbarara Rally ended prematurely, after race winner, Jas Mangat knocked dead a boda boda cyclist on the last day of the event on Sunday.
The accident happened at Kacwampare trading centre in Rubare village, Bitsya parish in Rubindi sub-county in Mbarara district, in the last section of the event running from Bukiro to Bwizibwera.
This was the first incident of its kind, in the many years the Mbarara rally has been held.
The Mitsubishi Lancer EVO X driver Mangat, who led the rest of the 38 drivers right from day one on Saturday, sustained minor injuries after his car developed a hole in the driver’s side.
The Police identified the dead as Benson Tumusiime, 20, while the passenger he was carrying identified as Innocent Kabigumira, was rushed to Bwizibwera health centre IV with a fractured arm.
Eye witnesses said that Tumusiime defied Police warnings and that even when the residents tried to stop him from riding on the road, he never took heed.
Rwizi Region Traffic Police officer, Justine Opus, blamed the accident on the boda boda rider’s carelessness.
“The boda boda man was so careless and did not take serious, the cautions that were passed on by the Police. He went on to ride on the road even when the lead car and the Police car had passed through alerting people on the way,” Opus said.
Event manager Said Kaketo said the last section of the event had to be cancelled out since Mangat’s was the first car.
Mangat who had led in the first four sections of Rwentanga-Bwizibwera (31.62), Bwizibwera-Rutooma (28.9km), Kagyezi-Bwizibwera (19.65km) and Rubindi-Rutooma (15.02km), went on to be declared the winner after losing 1hr10:12, followed by Arthur Blick.
Top drivers struggle
Reigning NRC champion Susan Muwonge was left with much to ponder in her push of retaining the crown, after finishing 11th and outside the scoring bracket.
The Subaru Impreza driver could not come anywhere near her last year’s best of third place, that contributed much to her NRC crown, coming 20 minutes behind winner Mangat.
Only 23 drivers of the 40 that entered the race, finished the event.