Motor sport

Monte-Carlo Rally legend Paddy Hopkirk dies aged 89

Paddy Hopkirk, 1933 – 2022

Monte Carlo rally legend Paddy Hopkirk, who won the 1964 event in a Mini Cooper, has died aged 89.

The Northern Irishman, who has won 13 international rallies in his career, won the Monte with co-driver Henry Liddon as the all-British crew put in a tremendous field of diverse effort to secure a memorable victory.

His family released a statement describing him as “a loving husband, father and grandfather”, who leaves behind “an incredible legacy of motorsport and business success”.

Hopkirk became an overnight British celebrity with his victory on the Monte, received congratulatory messages from Prime Minister Sir Alec Douglas-Home and the Beatles, received the Freedom of Belfast and was invited as a guest on Bruce Forsyth. Sunday night at the London Palladiumcomplete with its Mini.

After achieving more success throughout the 1960s before retiring, Hopkirk remained indelibly linked to the small, nimble Mini Cooper and images of it gliding through snowy mountain passes.

Hopkirk competing on the Monte in 64

BMW

Belfast-born Hopkirk told Simon Taylor in 2009 that he learned car control while driving a vintage mobility vehicle given to him in the will of a clergyman he cared for .

“It was very unstable,” he said. “I learned to drive it flat, sideways, around an estate near our home. The brakes only worked in the rear, so when you tried to slow down, it was like doing a handbrake turn.