9/2/1932 - 20/10/2013
Record updated 23-Jan-22
If anyone in East Africa achieved the status of a national hero through motor rallying, it was undoubtedly Joginder Singh.
He was not only the first Asian driver ever to win an international rally but also the first man to win the Safari three times. His tally of 19 finishes in 22 Safari starts is unique: a record of consistency in 'the world's toughest rally' that will probably never be beaten.
Sardar Joginder Singh Bhachu was born on 9th February 1932 at Kericho in Kenyan in the western highlands. His father Sardar Battan Singh came to Kenya in the 1920's from Village Kandola Kalan, near NurMahal in the district of Jullundur, Punjab.
Joginder Singh was the eldest of eight sons and two sisters and was educated at a boarding school at Nairobi. But engineering was already in his blood as he was able to drive an old 1930s Chevrolet by the time he was 13.
He worked as a spanner boy in his father's garage and later moved onto work with larger motor companies and in 1958 became the first patrolman for the Royal East African Automobile Association armed with a fearsome 650cc BSA motorcycle and sidecar.
Upto the age of 26 he had no experience of motor sport. His father was a fast car driver, perhaps some of that had rubbed off on his son but it was probably Joginder Singh's mechanical sympathy and meticulous car preparation that were to have the biggest influence on his future rally career.