Every Successful Safari Rally: A Tribute to Bharat Bhardwaj

Letter from New Delhi

By Kul Bhushan who reported on the Safari from 1964 to 1990

After vrooming over dusty and soggy bush trails in Kenya as the dust settles after the current Safari Rally, just pause a minute to remember Bharat Bhardwaj, an entrant who could be its winner in 1969 but later became its chairman from 1976 to 1982.

Let’s start at the beginning. Bharat was born in Nakuru, Kenya, in 1934 and then his father moved to Nairobi. After schooling, he flew to London to become an Optometrist at which he excelled. But his passion was motorsport. Starting off as racing driver on Nakuru race track and in hill climbs, he became the Kenya Hillclimb champion for six years in a row and the Motor Sportsman of the Year in 1969.

Rallying attracted him to the Safari which was the rage at that time. He entered the 16th Safari in 1968 navigated by Sajjad Sarwar. The following year, he navigated the legendary Joginder Singh, the Simba of Kenya, in a Volvo 142S. That was the roughest, fastest Safari till then with a new route. Very dry conditions took a heavy toll on top drivers but Joginder/Bhardwaj persisted and climbed the finishers’ ramp at number one, closely tailed by Robin Hillyar and ‘Jock’ Aird in a Ford Tanus. Read More… Become a Subscriber


Mauritius Times ePaper Friday 1 July 2022

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