NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 22 – The Kenyan motorsports fraternity is in mourning following the demise of yet another stalwart of the old type World Rally Championship Safari Rally, Prem Kumar Singh Choda.
The 86-year old died on Saturday morning in Nairobi.
Prem and his wife Pauruchistry Choda captivated the nostalgic Safari world in the 1970s and 80s competing in more than 10 Safari Rally events through to the late 1980’s.
The husband and wife crew didn’t just savor the intensity and gusto of what the fabled Safari had to offer back then, but saw rallying technology morph through different guises, from the endurance drive to the present day special stage sprint format.
Prem competed around the same time with the likes of the late Joginder Singh and late Shekhar Mehta who were both multiple winners of the iconic Safari.
His death comes some months prior to the much-anticipated return of the WRC Safari next year.
The World Rally Championship (WRC) Safari was readmited to the global calendar this year but was postponed to 2021 due to the outbreak of the novel Coronavirus pandemic.
FIA African representative Surinder Thatthi condoled with the family of Choda.
“It was sad to learn of the passing of the legendary Prem Singh Choda. Africa has lost another rallying great and we shall miss him,” he said.
Viren Goricha who is Africa’s FIA Technical Delegate in the continent’s FIA ARC series said: “My condolences to the family. I knew him for a long time. I last met him when he was in the hospital. I also met Pauru and I’m glad she’s going strong. May his soul rest in eternal peace.”
All-rounder Steve Anthony who participated in rallying and motocross in the 80s and 90s said: “Prem and his wife were always very friendly, a popular husband and wife team. They were very big supporters of mine during my Motocross days.”
In his racing career, he tackled the Safari Rally with zest and vigor driving a Mitsubishi Gallant, a Colt Lancer similar to what Joginder Singh used; a Datsun H510 and a Datsun Violet.
He finished 15th overall on the 1974 Safari Rally in a Mitsubishi Gallant navigated by his wife Pauru. In the 1980 Marlboro Safari, Prem and Pauru retired behind the wheel of a Colt Lancer.