• Toroitich also won a round of the FIA Africa Rally Championship, then the Equator Rally and Nanyuki Rally in 1998.
• He mentored many rally drivers, navigators and crew who today participate in races across the world.
The Ministry of Sports, Culture and Heritage has paid tribute to the fallen rally legend Jonathan Toroitich who died last Friday at the age 64.
On behalf of the Ministry, Sports CS Amb. Amina Mohammed said: “I send my deepest condolences to his family, friends, relatives and the entire motorsport fraternity at this time of great loss and sorrow.
May the Almighty rest his soul in eternal peace.” Amiably referred to as JT in rally circles, Toroitich was crowned the Kenya National Rally Champion in 1997 navigated by the late Ibrahim Choge in a Toyota Celica.
He also won a round of the FIA Africa Rally Championship, then the Equator Rally and Nanyuki Rally in 1998, the same year it joined the Kenya National Rally Championship series. His contemporary drivers were Ian Duncan, Azar Anwar, Paul Bailey, Jim Kahumbura, Patrick Njiru, the late Washington Nteere and Phineas Kimathi among others.
JT was the son of Kenya’s second President Daniel Toroitich Arap Moi. Amb. Amina while condoling the Moi family, said: “It is with great sorrow that I have learnt of the death of Kenya’s Safari Rally icon, Jonathan Kipkemboi Toroitich. Many Kenyans knew and worked with Jonathan in many spheres of life. They loved him for many reasons.
But we, in sports adored him for his love and prowess in motorsport. “The history of Safari Rally, particularly concerning the participation of indigenous rally drivers, cannot be written without the mention of Jonathan Toroitich who was popularly known as JT.
He came into the rally when many Kenyans needed indigenous names to identify within the popular sport. He brought in a fresh breath and renewed interest by local enthusiasts into the sport.
Indeed, many fans would wait along the route to watch him drive by, and walk back home, thereafter. He mentored many rally drivers, navigators and crew who today participate in races across the world. He has passed on at a time when the country is revamping the Safari Rally Sport.”