NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 11 – The motorsports world is mourning following the death of Safari Rally legend Jayant Shah who died in Nairobi aged 78 years after a short illness.
FIA African representative Surinfer Thatthi condoled with the family, saying he treated the African racing scene to some exhilarating displays.
“It’s a big loss to all of Africa. Our sincere condolences to Jayant Shah’s family and Tanzanian governing body AAT and the continental body, CACMS. We will miss this successful driver for his cockpit exploits over 4 decades,” he said.
Jayant was an avid participant of East African Classic Car events in a Porsche 911 and last competed at the 2020 Arusha Guru Nanak Rally finishing 10th. He ruled the roost in the 1980s when he won several rallies including the Himalayan Rally.
During his glory days he sat with legendary Safari navigators including Aslam Khan, Mike Doughty and Lofty Drews who later migrated to Australia.
Jayant won the Kenya National Rally Championship title three times in a row twice driving a Datsun PA 10 in 1982 and 1983 as well as 1984 In a Nissan 240RS.
He jointly won the Kenya Motor Sport Personality of the year award with Aslam Khan in 1982, the days he drove like a man possessed.
He also competed in a number of World Rally Championship (WRC) events and savored some credible finishes more so on the iconic Safari Rally.
Mombasa Motor Club (MMC) Chairman Roy McKenzie paid tribute to the fallen rally legend.
“His team was very organized and he had some serious mechanics. Jayant was always very keen and enthusiastic about motorsport. Behind all that he was a decent guy. He drove hard finishing KNRC events in credible positions. He was a likeable man in and outside the cockpit. In the car, he developed a penchant for always pushing hard,” he said.