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#1 Doug Nye

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Posted 22 July 2022 - 14:34

I have just heard - very sadly - that the great Paddy Hopkirk has just passed away, aged 89...

 

DCN



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#2 Tim Murray

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Posted 22 July 2022 - 14:56

I’m so very saddened. When I was a young lad, Paddy in a Mini was ‘the’ rally combination. I admired and respected his Scandinavian team mates, but Paddy was the man for me, and I followed his career avidly.

A few years ago I came across him at a Race Retro, talking in a little group. Not wishing to intrude, I stood at a respectful distance and took his photo. He immediately beckoned me over and we had a chat, although as always I was somewhat tongue-tied in the presence of one of my heroes.

RIP Paddy, and thank you. Sincere condolences to all his family and friends.

#3 GazChed

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Posted 22 July 2022 - 14:57

In relation to the Sportsmanship thread didn't Paddy and his teammate give up their chance of winning the 1968 London - Sydney rally to rescue a French crew who had crashed their Citroen ?

One of my earliest motorsport memories was Paddy winning the Monte Carlo rally in a Mini Cooper and appearing on the stage of the London Palladium a week or so later. R.I.P Paddy you truly were a legend to this young enthusiast.

#4 ArnageWRC

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Posted 22 July 2022 - 15:25

In relation to the Sportsmanship thread didn't Paddy and his teammate give up their chance of winning the 1968 London - Sydney rally to rescue a French crew who had crashed their Citroen ?

One of my earliest motorsport memories was Paddy winning the Monte Carlo rally in a Mini Cooper and appearing on the stage of the London Palladium a week or so later. R.I.P Paddy you truly were a legend to this young enthusiast.

 

When winning the Monte actually meant something to the wider world. A fabulous driver, and all round motoring personality.....



#5 john winfield

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Posted 22 July 2022 - 15:30

Very sad news. Like Tim, Paddy and the Mini were part of my youth.

#6 Pat Clarke

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Posted 22 July 2022 - 15:56

Oh dear, another hero of my youth gone :-(

 

Still, as we age, it is inescapable that this happens frequently.

 

Still, I am sad,

 

Pat



#7 cpbell

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Posted 22 July 2022 - 16:43

Oh dear, very sad.  I always enjoyed seeing him on TV or videos elsewhere. 



#8 Nanni Dietrich

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Posted 22 July 2022 - 16:51

Sad sad news, his red and white Mini #37 an historical icon of international rallying.



#9 JacnGille

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Posted 22 July 2022 - 17:41

Sad news



#10 WonderWoman61

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Posted 22 July 2022 - 17:48

Rest In Peace Paddy.

#11 absinthedude

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Posted 22 July 2022 - 17:56

Very sad news. 



#12 BRG

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Posted 22 July 2022 - 18:18

Like Stirling for motor racing, Paddy was the rally driver that even people with no interest in rallying knew about. Maybe Colin McRae became better known later on, but for decades, it was Paddy that was the People's Rally Driver. He will be remembered and he will be missed.

#13 PCC

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Posted 22 July 2022 - 18:23

Very sad news. I recall a story he told in Motor Sport about being pulled over by a policeman for speeding. "Who do you think you are", the policeman scolded him, "Paddy Hopkirk?"



#14 Myhinpaa

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Posted 22 July 2022 - 18:25

In relation to the Sportsmanship thread didn't Paddy and his teammate give up their chance of winning the 1968 London - Sydney rally to rescue a French crew who had crashed their Citroen ?

One of my earliest motorsport memories was Paddy winning the Monte Carlo rally in a Mini Cooper and appearing on the stage of the London Palladium a week or so later. R.I.P Paddy you truly were a legend to this young enthusiast.

 

https://www.belfastt...9-41860657.html

 

“It was on the London-Sydney Rally [1968] when he and his co-driver Tony Nash were following Lucien Bianchi and Jean-Claude Ogier,”

Mr Hamill explained.

 

“They hit another car head on and theirs [Citroën DS] burst into flames.

 

“Paddy and Tony could have went on and won – but they stopped to help.”

 

The teammates pulled their rivals out of both car wrecks and then warned on-comers of the hazard ahead until emergency help arrived.

Hopkirk and Nash took second place with no regrets.

 

“That was typical of Paddy,” Mr Hamill said



#15 WonderWoman61

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Posted 22 July 2022 - 19:26

Too bad the BBC News readers don't know their history, quoting Hopkirk as the last Brit to win the Monte Carlo Rally, Vic Elford in 1968 anyone? But still, very sad.

#16 d j fox

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Posted 22 July 2022 - 21:44

Sad news . Saw him race several times- usually sideways- and even bought a Paddy Hopkirk bolt on accelerator peddle for my Dad’s Mini. I too remember the London Palladium appearance of the Monte Mini. RIP

#17 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 23 July 2022 - 02:39

I had a Paddy Hopkirk race seat for quite a period. Ok for the day but not these days,  I had to weld up and reinforce the frame a few times. It was better than many on the market for the period though.

As for the man,, a very good rally driver to me best remembered for the rescue of Bianchi and nav.

RIP Paddy.



#18 Alan Baker

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Posted 23 July 2022 - 08:04

Another sad loss. As well as the 1964 London Palladium appearance, the whole BMC team and their cars appeared on the show after the 1966 disqualification, Paddy was asked to comment and said "the whole thing stinks". He also deserves respect for getting works MGBs to the finish at Le Mans for three years running, 1963/4/5, nearly beat the Rover-BRM in 1965!



#19 cooper997

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Posted 23 July 2022 - 09:46

In the early 50s he could be found running a VW, however around a decade later it was the BMC product with the power unit at the other end that Paddy is likely to be best remembered. It certainly helped make him a household name in an era when the Monte Carlo Rallye was widely covered and meant something.

 

Paddy & Henry in 33 EJB, 1071 Cooper S - the winning combination of 1964 (that should be viewable at British Motor Museum, Gaydon)

1964-Safety-Fast-Monte-Hopkirk-Liddon.jp

 

Another legend I had a fleeting moment with in the UK. July 1997 MiniWorld International Show at the NEC with John Cooper, John Rhodes and Paddy - making a trilogy of Mini legends.

 

My condolences to Paddy's family and friends.

 

 

Stephen



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#20 ArnageWRC

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Posted 23 July 2022 - 11:11

Too bad the BBC News readers don't know their history, quoting Hopkirk as the last Brit to win the Monte Carlo Rally, Vic Elford in 1968 anyone? But still, very sad.

 

A few publications are repeating this; amongst others Autocar & Dirtfish......poor journalism.



#21 WonderWoman61

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Posted 23 July 2022 - 11:43

A few publications are repeating this; amongst others Autocar & Dirtfish......poor journalism.


Hon-est-LY!

#22 Catalina Park

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Posted 23 July 2022 - 11:50

In relation to the Sportsmanship thread didn't Paddy and his teammate give up their chance of winning the 1968 London - Sydney rally to rescue a French crew who had crashed their Citroen ?

One of my earliest motorsport memories was Paddy winning the Monte Carlo rally in a Mini Cooper and appearing on the stage of the London Palladium a week or so later. R.I.P Paddy you truly were a legend to this young enthusiast.

 

 

https://www.belfastt...9-41860657.html

 

“It was on the London-Sydney Rally [1968] when he and his co-driver Tony Nash were following Lucien Bianchi and Jean-Claude Ogier,”

Mr Hamill explained.

 

“They hit another car head on and theirs [Citroën DS] burst into flames.

 

“Paddy and Tony could have went on and won – but they stopped to help.”

 

The teammates pulled their rivals out of both car wrecks and then warned on-comers of the hazard ahead until emergency help arrived.

Hopkirk and Nash took second place with no regrets.

 

“That was typical of Paddy,” Mr Hamill said

The result was not changed by Paddy stopping to help. He was behind Andrew Cowan on points. It was a transport stage where the crash occurred after the final competitive stage. The only way Paddy could have won was if Andrew Cowan had retired on that stage as well as Bianchi. 



#23 Vitesse2

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Posted 23 July 2022 - 11:52

Whatever the source for that, I do wonder if it's just a misreading/misinterpretation of 'last all-British crew to win in a British car' from somewhere else. Or simply 'last all-British win', in a sentence which also mentioned the car. I've put a correction to that effect in the comments below the article on the BBC website.

 

Autocar and Dirtfish shouldn't be getting it wrong though!



#24 Myhinpaa

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Posted 23 July 2022 - 13:00

The result was not changed by Paddy stopping to help. He was behind Andrew Cowan on points. It was a transport stage where the crash occurred after the final competitive stage. The only way Paddy could have won was if Andrew Cowan had retired on that stage as well as Bianchi. 

 

Very true, at the time of the accident Bianchi had 39 penalty points, Cowan 50 and Hopkirk 56. This didn't change.

Bianchi was resting at the time of the crash and his co-driver Jean-Claude Ogiér was behind the wheel.

 

it was the driver of the oncoming Mini who was entirely to blame for the crash.

 

https://www.flickr.c...57632383618792/

 

https://www.southern...hon-near-nowra/

 

https://www.whichcar...sydney-marathon



#25 Catalina Park

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Posted 23 July 2022 - 13:52

it was the driver of the oncoming Mini who was entirely to blame for the crash.

 

 
There has been a lot of bad reporting about the crash regarding the Mini. There was two Minis on the road that day and this has caused some confusion between witnesses. That Southern Highland News story gives some clues and a photo.

The accident happened on an open road. It was up to both drivers to avoid hitting each other. 
Both cars ended up still on the narrow road even though it was a corner. So someone didn't swerve left. 



#26 Ray Bell

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Posted 23 July 2022 - 20:03

We can see from the photos that there were two Minis on the road...

 

The red one photographed at the water crossing seems to have run off the road (surely you wouldn't park there knowing the competing cars were coming!) while travelling in the direction of the rally cars and prior to Bianchi coming through, in other words ahead of the rally cars. You can see his tyre marks on the road in the picture of Ogier at the water crossing.

 

The car involved in the crash is obviously a different one.

 

So it's easy to see why there were confusing stories.



#27 Ian G

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Posted 23 July 2022 - 23:45

 

So it's easy to see why there were confusing stories.

 

Yes,but Evan Green said Paddy stopped to help a bogged car in WA(SA?) and lost time that caused him to fall behind Bianchi/Cowan,not the Bianchi crash where he was coming 3rd.Should be a report in RCN.

 

Sad News

RIP.



#28 Ray Bell

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Posted 24 July 2022 - 05:29

When did Evan Green say that?

 

The RCN report says that the car broke a tie-rod end and Paddy drove with one-wheel steering (and the other flopping about at random, I suppose) for the remaining 17 miles of a very rough stage. The 31 minutes he had up his sleeve evaporated and he lost a further 14 minutes.

 

Further to the photos on the second link above ( https://www.southern...hon-near-nowra/ ), one car shown going through the creek crossing is a Renault 16. This is probably the same Renault 16 which was pressed into service to act as an ambulance to get Bianchi to Nowra hospital.



#29 Ian G

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Posted 24 July 2022 - 11:11

When did Evan Green say that?

 

The RCN report says that the car broke a tie-rod end and Paddy drove with one-wheel steering (and the other flopping about at random, I suppose) for the remaining 17 miles of a very rough stage. The 31 minutes he had up his sleeve evaporated and he lost a further 14 minutes.

 

Further to the photos on the second link above ( https://www.southern...hon-near-nowra/ ), one car shown going through the creek crossing is a Renault 16. This is probably the same Renault 16 which was pressed into service to act as an ambulance to get Bianchi to Nowra hospital.

 

Hi Ray....IIRC at a car Club meeting in the early 1970's,talking about how BMC should have won the Rally,2 cars had unnecessary time penalties stopping to help fellow competitors including Cowan. On hearing of Roger Clark's withdrawal in Vict. there was a sombre mood knowing they had blown it.



#30 Doug Nye

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Posted 24 July 2022 - 11:26

I was asked yesterday by a national newspaper obituarist if I knew Paddy's parents' names, and also the maiden name of his wife Jenny.  I fear I was otherwise involved at the time and was ignorant of the answers in any case.  Paddy was always incredibly friendly, engaging, open and willing to help.  I feel rather guilty for not knowing those details.

 

DCN



#31 ReWind

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Posted 24 July 2022 - 11:36

He married Jenny Manser in 1967.

Paddy-Hopkirk-with-his-bride-Jenny-Manse



#32 marksixman

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Posted 24 July 2022 - 12:00

I know there is a dedicated BBC Rewind thread, but  it seemed more appropriate to post this here. Watch it to the end for Hopkirk & Hill  (what a great title for a TV sitcom !).

 

RIP Paddy.

 

https://bbcrewind.co...4?q=graham hill



#33 Vitesse2

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Posted 24 July 2022 - 12:03

Northern Irish birth records under 100 years old are not available online, so can only be researched in person, by appointment only, at the General Register Office in Belfast.

 

https://www.nidirect...lic-search-room



#34 Gary Davies

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Posted 24 July 2022 - 12:26

Somewhere in the shed, I believe I still have a Paddy Hopkirk throttle pedal extension for my MGB. Seems Syd Enever didn't approve of double declutching.  :stoned:



#35 Vitesse2

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Posted 24 July 2022 - 13:01

He married Jenny Manser in 1967.

Paddy-Hopkirk-with-his-bride-Jenny-Manse

On June 30th - a Friday - at St Mary's Church, Chelsea. Source: Daily Mail July 1st 1967. The Mail published another picture, but no family details.



#36 Vitesse2

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Posted 24 July 2022 - 13:15

The photo Reinhard has linked was published in The Daily Telegraph on July 1st. Transcript from the Court & Social column in the same issue:

 

 

Mr. P. B. Hopkirk and Miss J. Manser

 

The marriage took place yesterday, at St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church. Cadogan Street, of Mr. Patrick Barron Hopkirk, youngest son of the late Mr. F. C. Hopkirk and of Mrs. Hopkirk, of Bangor, Co. Down, Northern Ireland, and Miss Jennifer Manser, elder daughter of Mr. and Mrs. A. H. Manser, of Abergavenny, Monmouthshire. Father Michael Archer officiated.

 

The bride, who was given away by her father, was attended by three bridesmaids. Miss Margaret Manser. Miss Vivien Duret and Miss Ann Aiexander; and a matron of honour. Mrs. R. I. Hoddell. Mr. Andrew Hedges was best man.

So no full name for his father, but initials!



#37 ReWind

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Posted 24 July 2022 - 14:22

From the Paddy Hopkirk Story (by Bill Price and himself) in 2005 Andrew Hamilton for The Irish Times told readers that Paddy's father was Captain Francis Cecil Hopkirk.
Maybe he was the one mentioned here (1896 - 1957).


Edited by ReWind, 24 July 2022 - 15:05.


#38 Vitesse2

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Posted 24 July 2022 - 15:43

Looks like that's the one. This Belfast Telegraph article confirms that Paddy's mother was named Kathleen:

 

https://www.belfastt...s-28238583.html



#39 Red Socks

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Posted 24 July 2022 - 15:45

I did the early Pirelli Classic Marathons on which Paddy competed, competed note not just took part,  and he was an absolute joy, friendly, entertaining and not in the least grand or stand offish.

RIP Sir



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#40 WonderWoman61

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Posted 24 July 2022 - 15:48

A few publications are repeating this; amongst others Autocar & Dirtfish......poor journalism.


My theory is maybe it's because Elford wasn't driving a British car and Hopkirk was, still, Godspeed to both of them.

#41 Doug Nye

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Posted 24 July 2022 - 17:01

My Paddy Hopkirk-obituarist friend Richard Williams has great admiration for this Forum.  He would like to thank all those TNFers who so speedily responded to my query in post 30 above. 

 

DCN



#42 john winfield

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Posted 24 July 2022 - 17:27

My Paddy Hopkirk-obituarist friend Richard Williams has great admiration for this Forum.  He would like to thank all those TNFers who so speedily responded to my query in post 30 above. 

 

DCN

 

And here is Richard's piece in The Guardian:

 

https://www.theguard...opkirk-obituary



#43 Alan Baker

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Posted 25 July 2022 - 08:30

And here is Richard's piece in The Guardian:

https://www.theguard...opkirk-obituary

A nice tribute, but I am not sure that the 841cc two stroke Saab was more powerful than the Cooper S!

#44 john aston

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Posted 25 July 2022 - 09:30

Obit in The  Times today, if only half a page . I expected more actually, as he epitomised a now lost era . If anybody wants it , let me know 



#45 Ray Bell

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Posted 25 July 2022 - 09:38

Possibly the SAAB had a higher horsepower figure, but was lacking in low-down torque as a result...

 

The 1071cc Cooper S would have had plenty of torque.



#46 Doug Nye

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Posted 25 July 2022 - 10:50

From the BRDC this morning:

 

Paddy Hopkirk passed away peacefully in Stoke Mandeville Hospital last Thursday. He was 89 years of age and had been suffering from cancer. Before and after his two years as President of the BRDC from 2017 to 2019, Paddy was a director of the Club between 1995 and 2002 and a Vice President. He was passionate about the BRDC, insistent that Members should wear the Club’s badge proudly and as often as possible. Because of his great fame as a rally driver, the fact that he had also been a successful racing driver and was a fully qualified Life Member of the Club, to which he had been first elected in 1965, tended to be overlooked.

Born in Belfast, the youngest of five children to survive childbirth, Paddy gained a place at Trinity College, Dublin to study for an Engineering degree. However, he soon discovered the joys of motoring, first with motor-cycles before acquiring an Austin Seven Chummy with which he entered his first rally, a much gentler affair than those which he would encounter a few years later. In the 1950s it was common for motor sport competitors to use their road cars in a variety of disciplines by the simple expedient of removing the hubcaps and taping over the headlights. Fortuitously for Paddy, a fellow student at Trinity College was the son of the Volkswagen importer in Dublin. Attracted by the versatility of the VW Beetle, then the only model manufactured by the company, Paddy took a job as a salesman with the retail outlet of the importers and was soon at the wheel of a Beetle in rallies, trials, driving tests (autotests), hillclimbs and any other form of motorised competition in which a Beetle could be used. In 1952 Paddy’s passion for motoring competition led to him dropping out of university and pursuing his career as a car salesman to enable him to spend as much time as possible rallying.

VW Beetles saw Paddy through 1953/54 with some successes along the way but they had their limitations so a Triumph TR2 took their place in 1955 and provided Paddy with his first race win, in a heat at the Phoenix Park road circuit. Added to this were overall wins with the TR2 in other Irish events such as the Irish 900 mile Rally and several trials, news of which reached Ken Richardson, then competitions manager for Standard-Triumph in Coventry. The opportunity to drive a factory Standard Vanguard in the Monte Carlo Rally fell through but a Standard Ten was at Paddy’s disposal for the 1956 RAC Rally. Back then the RAC Rally started with a series of driving (auto) tests at the seaside town starting point. In 1956 Blackpool was the chosen venue where Paddy deployed his full repertoire of handbrake turns and other auto gymnastics to emerge as initial leader of the Rally, much to Richardson’s surprise and delight. Paddy was on his way as a works driver and celebrated by finishing third overall on the Tulip Rally in a Standard Eight.

The Suez Crisis severely curtailed international rallying in 1957 and Paddy only contested the Tulip and Midnight Sun Rallies for Standard-Triumph, the latter in a Standard Eight badged as a Standard Vanguard Junior which provided Paddy for the first time with the experience of an underpowered car on loose surfaces. The highlight of 1958 was Paddy’s first win in the Circuit of Ireland at the wheel of a factory Triumph TR3A but, after he had been forced to retire from the following Alpine Rally with an overheated engine, he was not invited to drive for Standard-Triumph again.

After sharing a Riley One-Point-Five with Les Leston in the 1959 Monte Carlo Rally, Paddy was invited by Norman Garrad, the Rootes Group competition manager, to drive a Hillman Husky of all things in the East African Safari Rally. Although unsurprisingly Paddy failed to finish, his next outing for Rootes in the Alpine Rally with a Sunbeam Rapier Series III ended with third place overall, first in class, a Coupe awarded for an unpenalized run, and The Autocar Trophy for first British car. Outside his international rallying for Standard-Triumph and latterly Rootes, Paddy kept his hand in with the smorgasbord of Irish events in a Speedwell Austin A35 and then a Mk 1 Austin-Healey Sprite ‘Frogeye’, continuing to enjoy considerable success. Paddy’s first notable race outside the island of Ireland came in the touring car event supporting the 1960 British Grand Prix at Silverstone. In a race famous for the brilliant battle for the lead between Colin Chapman and Jack Sears in Jaguar 3.8 Mk 2s, Paddy in his Sunbeam Rapier finished seventh overall behind the Jaguars but ahead of all the 1600 cc class regulars.

For 1961 Paddy continued with Rootes for the major international rallies in a Sunbeam Rapier, again finishing third overall on the Alpine Rally and winning the Circuit of Ireland for a second time, whilst also sharing a Sunbeam Alpine with Peter Jopp in the Le Mans 24 Hours and Sebring 12 Hours. Adding another string to his racing bow, Paddy acquired a Formula Junior Elva 200 of which he had no fond memories, describing it as ‘a dangerous pig’ although he did wrestle it to a third place in a formule libre race at Kirkistown. A much better proposition was the Lotus 18, which he borrowed from the Rootes distributor for Northern Ireland Charles Eyre-Maunsell, with which Paddy finished third in an international Formula Junior race at behind the Ken Tyrrell Cooper T59s of Peter Procter and John Love on the Dunboyne road circuit in 1962.  Uncle Ken was sufficiently impressed by Paddy’s performance to offer him a place in his Formula Junior team which he turned down.

By now Paddy’s status as one of the UK’s top rally drivers was undisputed. Having finished third overall in the 1962 Monte Carlo Rally behind Erik Carlsson’s SAAB 96 and Eugen Bohringer’s Mercedes-Benz 220SE, followed by his third Circuit of Ireland victory, Paddy left Rootes for the British Motor Corporation where the competition manager was the newly appointed Stuart Turner, and the Austin-Healey 3000 was at the peak of its powers. Little did Paddy think that it would not be the Big Healey so much as the diminutive Mini with which his fame and legendary status would be forged over the coming years. Paddy’s first outing in a Healey 3000 was the Liege-Rome-Liege Marathon de la Route from which he retired but the RAC Rally, now in the forests of course, went much better, Paddy finishing second overall behind the one and only Erik Carlsson.

Paddy would rarely rally the Big Healey again. In 1963 he took one to sixth overall in the Liege-Sofia-Liege and the following year won the Austrian Alpine Rally with ARX91B but retired from what had become the Spa-Sofia-Liege. For the next six years it would be mainly Minis. In a foretaste of what was to come, Paddy finished sixth in the 1963 Monte Carlo Rally with a Mini-Cooper before spending much of the year racing a Mini-Cooper and later a 1071 cc Mini-Cooper S in the British Saloon Car Championship, finishing the season sixth overall and second in class to John Whitmore in a similar combination of cars. In the Tour de France, with Henry Liddon as his-co-driver in a 1071 cc Cooper S – 33EJB - Paddy finished third overall in the Touring Car division behind a couple of Jaguar 3.8 Mk 2s.

With the same car - 33EJB - Paddy then began the 1964 season with one of the victories for which he will forever be best remembered - the Monte Carlo Rally. Starting from Minsk in the Soviet Union, Paddy and Henry Liddon battled through ice, snow, fog, and freezing conditions to emerge triumphant ahead of the Ford Falcon of Bo Ljungfeldt. A measure of the achievement is the list of famous rallying names who finished behind Paddy. Ljungfeldt was followed by Erik Carlsson in third place then Timo Makinen in another works Cooper S, Pat Moss-Carlsson, Tom Trana, Rauno Aaltonen, Carl-Magnus Skogh, Eugen Bohringer and Pauli Toivonen. It was the first win of many for the Mini in a major international rally. Paddy received telegrams of congratulation from amongst others the Prime Minister, Sir Alec Douglas-Home, from the Beatles and appeared with 33EJB live on stage for Sunday Night at the London Palladium with Bruce Forsyth, at the time one of the most-viewed programmes on television. When asked by the host what had been the most difficult part of the whole event, Paddy’s typically quick-witted response was to say ‘getting the Mini through the stage door’.

Over the next few years Paddy stayed loyal to BMC, mainly competing in Mini-Cooper Ss. His major victories included the 1966 Austrian Alpine, the 1967 Circuit of Ireland, the 1967 Acropolis and the 1967 Alpine Rallies while featuring prominently in the overall and class results in many other events. In 1969, with the Mini-Cooper S coming to the end of its time as a front-line car for the major events, Paddy had one final outing in the Circuit of Ireland but had to settle for second place behind the state-of-the-art Ford Escort Twin Cam of Roger Clark. In racing, Paddy continued to enjoy class success in the Bruitish Saloon Car championship and shared a 970 Mini-Cooper S with Julian Vernaeve to win the 851 to 1000 cc class in the 1964 Spa 24 Hours. This was not the end of Paddy’s Mini successes, however. In 1982 he came out of retirement to share a Cooper S with Brian Culcheth and win the RAC Golden 50 Rally and he was back again in 1990 to share a Cooper S with his great friend Alec Poole on the Pirelli Classic Marathon which they won.

In 1968 Paddy had been accompanied by Alec and by Tony Nash in a BMC Austin/Morris 1800 on the first and most famous transcontinental rally, the London to Sydney Marathon sponsored by the Daily Express. After driving across Europe, through Turkey, Afghanistan, India and from one side of Australia to the other, Paddy, Alec, and Tony in the underpowered ‘Land Crab’ claimed second place overall behind the Hillman Hunter of Andrew Cowan, Brian Coyle and Colin Malkin. This achievement gave Paddy a taste for transcontinental rallies. In 1970 he finished fourth on the London to Mexico World Cup event with a Triumph 2.5Pi and in 1977 he was third overall in a second London-to-Sydney Marathon, this time sponsored by Singapore Airlines. In a factory-supported Citroen CX2400 Paddy, racing driver Michael Taylor and Australian Bob Riley came home third.

Although it was his rally successes which made Paddy a household name in the 1960s, his time with BMC also saw him compete in a number of major sports car races such as the Targa Florio, Sebring 12 Hours and the Le Mans 24 Hours, the last of which he had already contested in 1961 and 1962 in a Sunbeam Alpine. While the Alpines may not have finished their races, the MGB proved to be a much more reliable proposition enabling Paddy and Alan Hutcheson to finish 12th overall and first in their class in 1963. In 1964, this time with Andrew Hedges as team mate their MGB was 19th overall, second in class and winner of The Motor Trophy for the first British car to finish. Paddy and Andrew were second in class again in 1965 and 11th overall with an MGB whilst in his last outing in the Great Race, again with Andrew but this time in an Austin-Healey Sprite, they were forced to retire with head gasket failure while going well only a few hours from the finish. In the Targa Florio in 1965 Paddy and Andrew shared a MG Midget Coupe to 11th overall and second in class, a MGB GTS with Timo Makinen to ninth overall in 1967 and a MGB GT with Andrew Hedges to 12th overall in 1968.

Paddy’s last competitive event came in 1994 when he drove a Mini-Cooper 1.3i in the Monte Carlo Rally to celebrate the 30th anniversary of his 1964 success. With former co-driver Ron Crellin alongside and at 60 years of age Paddy finished fourth in his class. The Mini association never went away for, after his retirement from active competition, Paddy established an association with BMW as an Ambassador for the second-generation MINI brand, overseeing most recently the introduction of a special edition Paddy Hopkirk Cooper S. From his earliest days in motor sport in Ireland Paddy developed commercial interests to help support his activities. Quick to see and seize an opportunity he expanded his car accessory business over time into the Mill Accessory Group based in Peterborough.  He gave his time and name freely to several charities including Wheelpower, SKIDZ and the Integrated Education Fund for Northern Ireland. He supported IAM RoadSmart, initiating an event for BRDC SuperStars and Rising Stars at Silverstone which enabled all the participants, after full assessments, to become Advanced Motorists.

In his two years as President of the BRDC, Paddy always took a keen interest in the Club’s activities, making himself available whenever requested and attending as many events as possible. His engaging charm and sense of humour invariably ensured that encountering him in the Clubhouse or wherever else would guarantee an entertaining chat. One of the first to be inducted into the Rally Hall of Fame, along with Erik Carlsson, Timo Makinen and Rauno Aaltonen, Paddy was a legend without any airs and graces. He was comfortable in the limelight but never sought it. Paddy was one of those BRDC Members for whom Membership of the Club meant a very great deal, an honour to be cherished. He will be very much missed.

To Jenny, Paddy’s wife of 55 years, their children Kate, Patrick and William, to their grandchildren and to Paddy’s many friends and colleagues around the world, the BRDC extends its most sincere condolences.

 

Very well merited...  

 

DCN



#47 BRG

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Posted 26 July 2022 - 09:17

Possibly the SAAB had a higher horsepower figure, but was lacking in low-down torque as a result...

 

The 1071cc Cooper S would have had plenty of torque.

The most powerful production SAAB two stroke was rated at 52ps.  The stock 1071 S was 70bhp.  In  1960s rally trim, both will have produced a bit more, but I doubt if SAAB will have got another 30ps or so out of their engine to match whatever BMC managed to coax from the S  (probably 80 or so bhp?)



#48 cooper997

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Posted 18 September 2022 - 03:51

The September issue of Mini Cooper Register's 'CooperWorld' have a few tributes to Paddy.

 

2022-MCR-Hopkirk-TNF.jpg

 

You can try viewing the pdf via going to https://www.minicoop...rg/cooperworld/ then members section where you will probably need to ask for access.

 

 

Another point worth making is that in recent days it has been reported that another of the Works drivers, Brian Culcheth has passed away aged 84.

 

 

Stephen



#49 BRG

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Posted 18 September 2022 - 10:27

That is sad news about Brian Culcheth who died on 11 September.  One of the unsung heroes of British rallying who was massively better than many realised.

 

Unlike almost everybody else, he did NOT drive a Ford Escort, apart from one outing in the Wither of Winsford Twin-Cam back in 1970.  He was in the BMC/BL camp, for many years, having started with the inevitable Minis, and stayed loyal until that camp was finally abandoned. Yet he won Scottish Rally in a Triumph 2.5Pi and took 2nd place on the 1970 World Cup Rally , again in a Triumph. 

 

Then he took 2nd on the Cyprus Rally in a Morris Marina.  A Marina FFS!!  An updated Morris Minor!  1300cc A series engine and all.  He was nearly excluded for breaking parc ferme rules for tickling the Amal carbs to get the car started.   He won the Hackle Rally (a leading Scottish event) in a Dolomite Sprint and took 2nd on the Manx in a TR7. 

 

He then drove for Dealer Opel Team in a Gp1 Kadett winning the Cheltenham National Rally - a UK National championship round- outright, ahead of the Gp4  Escort of Malcolm Wilson.  

 

One of those what-could-have-been British drivers of the 1970s whose careers were blighted by not being Scandinavian.  One wonders what he might have achieved in Boreham Escort RS?



#50 RS2000

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Posted 18 September 2022 - 19:43

Brian appeared in a TV programme long after he had retired to run a hardware shop in Porlock. In a programme on nature/countryside matters he was shown birdwatching and was interviewed by the presenter and another ornithologist as "local man Brian Culcheth" without any reference whatsoever to his career as probably the most travelled British International rally competitor ever.

As he told his biographer Pablo Raybold, he had the last laugh by driving obscure and unlikely cars all over the world whilst better known UK names waited by the phone for their next chance in a competitive car.