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Rally Legend Paddy Hopkirk, The Fifth Beatle, Goes Racing in the Skies

The motorsport community is mourning Paddy Hopkirk, who passed away last Thursday in Buckinghamshire, UK, at the age of 89.
Paddy Hopkirk 7 photos
Paddy HopkirkPaddy HopkirkPaddy HopkirkPaddy HopkirkPaddy HopkirkPaddy Hopkirk
Born in Belfast, Ireland, on April 14, 1933, Patrick Barron Hopkirk was a successful racer, businessman, and brand ambassador for MINI. And it was the original Mini that carried him to a legendary victory in the 1964 Monte Carlo Rally, having finished in third place in 1962 and in sixth place one year later.

Albeit a snapshot of his skills, it was that win that made him a legend in the ‘60s, receiving telegrams from the British Prime Minister Alec Douglas-Home, and The Beatles. The famous band sent a card that wrote "Now you’re one of us, Paddy,” to display alongside his trophy.

Paddy, as he was affectionately known, began his racing career in the 1950s, and had numerous engagements with various companies. He showed his skills in all kinds of motorsport events, including the Safari Rally, RAC Rally, Tulip Rally, Alpine Rally, Acropolis Rally, and others. His true sportsmanship came into play in 1968, when he, and his co-driver Tony Nash, stopped their Austin, which was leading the London-Sydney marathon, to free a team member from the burning car.

Besides these, Paddy took part in other races and scored a Spa 24 Hour win, three finishes at Le Mans, and also raced at Targa Florio and Circuit of Ireland. In 1977, he sat on the podium of the London-Sydney once more, in 1982 he won the RAC Golden 50, and in 1990 he scored a win at the Pirelli Classic Marathon. Paddy was one of the first four inductees in the Rally Hall of Fame, established in 2010. He also built a successful automotive parts business, and he was involved in charity. Paddy is survived by his wife, three children, and six grandchildren.


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