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  OBITUARY  

May 29 - June 04, 2009

 

 Coastweek   Kenya


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Navigator Elijah Mureithi -
'Formula Two' title WINNER

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Coastweek -- Martin Gitata (driver) and Elijah Muriithi in their Daihatsu special.

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a real exponent of THE Formula
Two game on the 'Flying Finish'

Coastweek -- The cruel hand of fate has robbed the rallying fraternity of yet another talent- with it’s infallible talons, writes SAMSON ATEKA.

Martin Gitata’s former navigator, Dr. Elijah Mureithi, died in Nairobi on Thursday morning barely three weeks after the crack Ugandan the late Riyaz Kurji was killed in a car crash during the 2009 KCB Pearl of Africa Uganda Rally on May 2.

The demise of the stocky but level-headed co-driver came too soon, incidentally, after the reigning KCB KNRC Navigator Champion Farak Yusuf met his fate in Mombasa last month in the wake of rally volunteer Harbarjan Saimbi.

On behalf of the Kenya Motor Sports Federation (KMSF) Board of Trustees, Achie Khan condoled with the family of the deceased.

Coastweek -- The late
Elijah Mureith.

Mureithi was a cardiologist attached to Nairobi Hospital. But it is painful to all and sundry that he had to die of an ailment he helped save countless other lives in his line of duty.

Rightly so, he was prolific heart surgeon but then as the old adage goes, “the cruel hand of fate takes those we love most.”

Elijah was one of the rising sons of the local game and an academic achiever known for his graciousness and calmness - but a real exponent of the Formula Two game on the ‘Flying Finish as well as the “Double Cautions! “Triple Cautions !” he relished while calling notes for Gitata.

Mureithi and Gitata became famous with the Daihatsu Charade - better known as the ‘DUDU’ and currently driven by Adan Suhail.

Gitata and Mureithi won the Formula Two title in 2006 and their partnership was considered unique given fact that the former was an aeronautical engineer and the deceased a cardiologist.

While Martin is a jolly and sometimes clownish, Mureithi was a quiet guy who always shirked from any controversy.

Formula Two contender Charles Hinga confided having received the news of the former champion navigator with utmost shock.

“He was easy going and quiet guy who’s ruddy face depicted determination and success always.

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Coastweek -- Martin Gitata [left] and Elijah Mureith
are awarded by Steve Kimani security group
manager after finishing Embu rally.

“At one point we really interacted quite a lot with Martin and Mureithi because our cars were all being fixed at Peter Mburu’s workshop (Comprehensive Workshop on Likoni Road) and I realized he was a man who always aspired to take his rallying career to the next level,” said Hinga.

Like Hinga, Leamy Karienye and Gitata, Mureithi came through Peter Mburu’s production line where speed and grace were real benchmarks.

But after an extremely muddy drive, it happened at last on a muddy afternoon. Gitata and Mureithi put behind miseries of their annulled win in the 2006 KCB S&L Rally in Kajiado to claim their first career win in  2006 KCB Guru Nanak Rally, a real mud bath in the Athi River black cotton soil.

This was when the penultimate round of the 2006 2WD series that ended disastrously for title contenders Rajee Chager and Jonathan Savage.

Chager retired with clutch failure, which had dogged him in the last two rounds, while Savage broke a drive-shaft of his Datsun 240Z and tested his first retirement of the season which ended his title aspirations as well.

Interestingly, Gitata was only a heartbeat away from the F2 crown after the muddy Guru Nanak affair while Murethi’s Championship victory almost went unnoticed at the Simba Union prize giving.

Mureithi- on his 6th outing- had the 2WD title in the bag with Gitata having to cool his heels before setting off to the Coast round.

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