Interviews: The Women Of The CBA Concours D’elegance 2017

The CBA Concours D’elegance which went down this Sunday saw many competitors compete with a couple scooping amazing prizes. Among these many contestants are a couple of vivacious ladies with a passion and love for classic and vintage cars that push them to compete. In this male-dominated sport, these women still manage to compete and manage to gunner top spots. This year’s edition saw two women get the second and third prizes in the overall car competition. The youngest entrant in both the car and motorcycle competition was also a young lady. I was able to interview a few of this year’s female competitors and hear their 2 cents on the CBA Concours D’elegance.

Leslie Carvell

 

Leslie Carvell from Uganda. Image from Leslie Carvell

Please tell us something about yourself?

My name is Leslie Carvell. I live in Uganda in Jinja, where I run a travel business. Persie, my car is a 1970 Volkswagen Beetle that I have had for about 18 years now. I first restored him in the United Kingdom then later moved to Uganda where I continued to work on him. I opened a Facebook page for my car where I cover topics such as car maintenance and environmental effects of the use of cars.

How many times have you competed at the CBA Concours D’elegance event?

I have been competing in the CBA Concours competition for 4 years. I won the first prize in the Ugandan vintage and classic auto show the first year I competed. I also won second place in my class in the same event last year. It is generally a learning curve to determine what the judges want and what you can afford (laughs).

What made you restore your car?

That’s the thing about Persie. He is my personal car; my only car. I use him to get myself around. My friends and I actually drove him all the way from Kampala to Nairobi. So the only thing I make sure I do is to check the paint, the engine and minimal stuff like that.

When did your passion start?

I had always been interested in cars from a very early age. I, however, forgot about it for a while until life presented me with an opportunity to rekindle my love. When I found Persie, he was semi-restored and had been left sitting in a garage somewhere. So I made the decision to buy him and fix it up.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to start competing?

(Smiling) Start saving money. If I look back at how much I have spent on this car comparative to the amount of money people spend buying other cars, I would not call it expensive. He is after all my only car. However, if you want to purchase a car for competitions and you want it to look good, it is definitely going to be expensive. The restoration process, polishing and all the work that goes into the car will cost you a lot. Not to mention the constant upkeep.

So why the CBA Concours D’elegance?

I think it is a beautiful event where people showcase their love and interest in vintage cars. You are able to socialize with different drivers and have fun while doing it.

Julia Wilcock

Julia Wilcock. Image courtesy of CBA Concours

Please tell us something about yourself?

My name is Julia Wilcock. I take part in these competitions with my husband Diccon Wilcock. He is actually the one bought me this 1952 MG TD as a present for my 50th birthday. I do not take it out into traffic a lot since it is not built for modern roads. I do really love this car so I ensure I take care of it. This car is special to us because it was the same make as the first car we bought together.

How many times have you participated in the CBA Concours D’elegance event?

I have joined the Concours a couple of times now, I am not sure of the number. I have won 4 times even though not consecutively. We always compete with my husband. He has a 1934 Ralton which also does extremely well in competitions.

What made you restore your car?

When the car was brought home, it needed a little work. First, it was a gift and since I also love vintage cars so much, I had it rebuilt from the scratch; the electrics, the chassis and the engine. I also got it painted a different colour. My husband is retired now so he does most the work at his own time and pace. I get into it with a fresh pair of eyes and can tell when something is wrong.

When did your passion start?

When my husband bought me this car, he knew I was a lover of the MG model. I have always loved cars. I started competing in the ‘80’s with a different car until I got this one. So you can say this is a hobby for me and my husband that we get to do together.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to start competing?

Restoring and constantly maintaining a car is expensive. It also takes a lot of interest or you will easily get bored. If I am asked to go to the garage to check on something, I gladly agree. If it is something in need of fixing, I work to fix it. Even if you do not take your car out often, you have to constantly renew its paint because it is bound to get blemishes while in the garage. It all depends on an individual’s interest just like any sport.

So why CBA Concours D’elegance?

I will not say that I love Concours but I do enjoy it. The competition is always great and looking at the other cars is also very fun. Some people put a lot of effort on their cars while some do not. It is interesting to see those variations.

 

Amy Wanday

Amy Wanday was the youngest competitor. Photo Credit – CBA Concours

Please tell us something about yourself?

My name is Amy Wanday and I am 18 years old. I come from a family of car and motorcycle enthusiasts hence my love for them too. I studied abroad where I recently graduated from the African Leadership Academy. I wear many hats. I am the brand ambassador for Lupese Elegance Kenya. I am also a marketing intern and writer at frontiers East Africa. My motorcycle is a 1993 Yamaha YZ 125.

How many times have you participated in the CBA Concours D’elegance event?

This is actually my second time here for the CBA Concours. My first time was two years ago. A year before that I had come to watch my brother in the Concours competition when I spotted a lovely bike on sale which I gladly purchased. I, however, went abroad to pursue my education. Now I am back and I really wanted to compete in the Concours this year.

When did your passion start?

Having grown up in a family who loved automobiles, it was sure to rub off on me. I have always been into motorsports. I actually hoped to have taken up motorsports like my brother did. So when the chance came for me to compete in the Concours I was definitely in.

What made you restore your bike?

Having bought the motorcycle two years ago there was not much work to be done on it. However, the problem with this one is that we left it in the garage for two years so I had to fix it up before entering it into any competition. I had to repaint it and make sure everything was functioning from the bolts to the engine. It is actually fun to do it.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to start competing?

Go for it! It is about the society and the support it provides people like us. For me, it comes from my dad believing I can handle it. Your relatives, friends and mentors should also very supportive in assuring you that you are capable of entering such competitions and winning. It, however, boils down to you. You have to work for it.  You have to be persistent. It was not just given to me because I asked. I had to get myself into this world of motorsports and gauge my interest before seriously pursuing it.

So why CBA Concours D’elegance?

My father suggested that we enter this bike into the competition after fixing it up. In previous years my brother entered into the competition. This year, however, he is abroad so I figured it was up to me to do it and carry on the family mantle.

Christine Omuombo

 

Please tell us about yourself?

My name is Christine Omuombo. I do not think I will tell you my age (giggles). I am a geologist. I came here with a couple of friends. My car is a 1968 Volkswagen Beetle.

How many times have you participated in the Concours D’elegance event?

This is my very first time to compete. I enjoyed myself even with the few hiccups here and there. It has been challenging but also an important learning process. You get to pick up various things that you can do to improve your car for any future competitions.

What made you restore your car?

This car has been in my family for the last 30 years. It used to belong to my late father. He got it in 1987. It has a lot of history related to various family experiences so even after my father’s passing it remained locked up and abandoned for 10 years. This year it has been a new project for my husband (who is a gearhead junkie) and I, to get it out on the road and get it moving.

When did your passion start?

When my husband and I took it up, it quickly became a project to restore it. Old cars have always been a passion because I remember driving this car from the Rift Valley all the way to my grandparents’ home and loving it.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to start competing?

Just get started no matter what stage you are in. You must also have a plan for the things you want to be done on your car. Getting a good garage is also important for the upkeep of your car. You can see my t-shirt (holding up her t-shirt) says Chef Customs which is one of the garages we have been working with. Also, try and understand your car in regards to what it needs. Do not just abandon it to the mechanics because you may not know what they are doing to it. This is because there is also a lot of back and forth with these cars since they do not have computerized systems. So if you go upcountry and see a car you are interested in, pick it or buy it and restore it slowly.

So why the CBA Concours?

It is one of the competitions that recognize old cars so being a ‘60s car, it gets some recognition. It is also one of the most prestigious motor events in Kenya so if you want to get your car out there and know what to do with it, this is the perfect competition. Today is actually its first day on the road after 10 years.

 

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