ISP for EASR
Joginder Singh is Kenya Airways
Safari Classic patron for 2007
It was announced today that Joginder Singh, East African Safari Rally
veteran and three times winner of the original rally, has been appointed
Patron of the Kenya Airways Safari Classic for 2007. He will be attending
the rally in November and will be the figurehead for many of the PR and
social activities surrounding it. Event Director Surinder Thatthi said
"Having such an experienced and knowledgeable person as part of our
event is a great honour. Joginder is held in great regard not only by
the general public here in East Africa who remember his amazing record
on the old Safari Rallies, but is also in the wider world of the international
rallying community. Our only fear is that during the rally he will forget
his role as Patron and start repairing cars
Joginder Singh joins a select group of previous East African Safari Classic
Patrons. At the inaugural event of 2003, Eric Cecil, one of the instigators
and founders of the original Coronation Safari back in 1953 and a winner
himself on the 1956 event, came all the way from his current home in Australia
to take the role of Patron. For the 2005 Safari Classic, the Patron was
Bharat Bhardwaj who competed on the Safari during the 1960s - he finished
third overall with Joginder in 1966 and second in 1969, both times in
Volvos - and then for many years was the Rally Chairman.
A short profile and a recent photograph of Joginder Singh are attached.
For press enquiries, contact:
John Davenport Tel: +44.7973.334297
Francesca Davenport Tel: +44.7976.918968.
Singh - Profile
It would be hard to find a finer example of a Safari Rally competitor
than Joginder Singh. In his twenty-two consecutive attempts at the Safari
Rally he posted three wins, only three retirements and eleven times he
finished inside the top five. His mechanical ability in preparing cars
and then keeping them running against all the odds was legendary.
Born in Kericho, high up amongst the tea plantations of western Kenya,
Joginder learnt his automobile engineering in his father's workshop before
moving to Nairobi where he landed a job as Kenya's first mobile EAA patrolman.
His journeys with motor bike and sidecar were to stand him in good stead
when he started rallying in 1958 with a friend in a Morris Minor. His
knowledge of East Africa's road and their condition in all kinds of weather
was probably unsurpassed. He took a private VW to ninth place on the 1959
Safari triggering support from Cooper Motors for whom he and brother Jaswant
drove for the next three years, finishing every time and with their best
result a fifth place in 1962.
Next Safari car for Joginder and his brother was a Fiat 2300 with which
they finished fourth and could have been higher had it not been for punctures.
At one point when they ran out of inner tubes, they kept the tyres "inflated"
by stuffing them with straw. For 1964, Joginder was signed to drive one
of the Lincoln Mercury Comets brought all the way from Detroit with typical
razzmatazz but which went home rather subdued by the severity of the African
roads. The Comet gave Joginder his worst Safari result at twenty-first
overall but at least he got the car to the finish. However, others were
even more unlucky and, after the rally, he was able to buy two of the
works Volvos PV544s that were thought not worth shipping back to Sweden.
For the 1965 Safari, Joginder pulled start number one of the hat and drove
his self-prepared Volvo brilliantly to win by the considerable margin
of an hour and forty minutes. The victory triggered appearances on the
Swedish and RAC Rallies supported by Volvo.
He drove Volvos for the next two years and always finished well. With
a Datsun 1600SSS, he was second in 1969 and a Datsun contract loomed on
his horizon. But he chose to go with Ford who seemed to have the better
car and better programme. Sadly, he had poor luck with his two Escorts,
finishing sixteenth in 1971 and posting his first retirement ever in 1972,
the year Ford won. Short of a drive after that, he looked around and chose
the 1,600cc Mitsubishi Galant. He prepared the little car himself and
brought it home in eleventh place in 1973. This was an action packed event
that involved ripping the rear axle out of the car on a Tanzanian bridge,
mending it at the side of the road, chasing back up through the field
only to have a top ten finish denied when the engine bearings failed fifty
miles before the end and he had to limp in as best he could.
With help from the East African importer, he became Mitsubishi's advance
guard on the WRC scene winning the Safari twice in Lancers, in 1974 and
again in 1976. His rally career finished behind the wheel of various works
Mercedes with whom he competed between 1978 and 1980. On the last occasion
when he drove a 450SCL, he was partnered by an American TV star from Baywatch
to whom he gave a typical Joginder lesson on determination in adversity
by removing the passenger side window and most of the door in an early
accident and then carrying on in far from comfortable conditions to finish