Paddy Hopkirk

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Paddy Hopkirk
Paddy Hopkirk.jpg
Born Patrick Barron Hopkirk
(1933-04-14) 14 April 1933 (age 82)
Belfast, Northern Ireland
Occupation Rally driver

Patrick Barron "Paddy" Hopkirk (born 14 April 1933) is a former rally driver from Northern Ireland.

He was born in Belfast and educated at Clongowes Wood College in County Kildare from 1945–1949 before attending Trinity College, Dublin until 1953.

Earlier wins and Monte Carlo Rally victory[edit]

He started his winning career in professional racing and rally driving in 1955. He finished third at the 1962 Monte Carlo Rally in a Sunbeam Rapier. Alongside Henry Liddon he won the 1964 Monte Carlo Rally in a Mini Cooper S car number 37, with the registration number 33 EJB. They are the most recent all-British crew to have won the event.

Hopkirk also travelled to Australia during his career to drive for the BMC Works Team in the annual Bathurst 500 race for standard production cars at the Mount Panorama Circuit. He drove at Bathurst in a Morris Cooper S from 1965–1967, obtaining a best result of 6th outright and 3rd in class in the 1965 Armstrong 500 when paired with another great rally driver, Timo Mäkinen of Finland. In 1965, he won a Coupe d'Argent at the Alpine Rally.[1] He won the 1965 and 1967 Circuit of Ireland Rally, the 1966 and 1967 Alpine Rally, and the 1967 Rally Acropolis.

Hopkirk was elected as a life member of the British Racing Drivers' Club in 1967, and is also president of the Historic Rally Car Register, and a patron of disability charity WheelPower.

The 1968 London-Sydney Marathon[edit]

In 1968, at the London-Sydney Marathon, Hopkirk gallantly gave up any chance of victory on the penultimate stage to rescue the Bianchi-Ogier team then in the lead, whose Citroën DS had just collided head-on with another car on a road supposedly closed to traffic. Hopkirk and his teammate Tony Nash managed to pull out occupants from both cars that where starting to burn, probably saving the life of severely wounded Lucien Bianchi in the process. The accident happened just ahead of Hopkirk's Austin 1800. By driving back to warn onlookers and the police, Hopkirk and Nash likely also prevented another crash with any incoming participants.

Later wins[edit]

That same year he finished second at the second edition of the Rally de Portugal. The following year, he finished second of the Circuit of Ireland, then 4th at the 1970 London to Mexico World Cup Rally with teammates Tom Nash and Neville Johnston on a Triumph 2.5 PI. In 1977, with co-driver Taylor Mike, he took part once again in a revived edition of the London-Sydney Marathon, the Singapore Airlines London to Sydney Rally, this time driving a Citroën CX 2400, taking 3rd place overall in front of another CX driven by Claude Laurent and Jean-Claude Ogier... who had been rescued by Hopkirk and Nash in 1968.

In 1982, he won the RAC Golden 50, a historical anniversary race celebrating the 50th RAC Rally, with co-driver Brian Culcheth in the Mini Cooper with which Timo Mäkinen had won the 1965 Monte Carlo Rally. In 1990, he won the Pirelli Classic Marathon with co-driver Alec Poole. In 1994, he entered the Monte Carlo Rally again, driving a current Mini Cooper, very similar to the original car, but now produced by Rover Group, whose 1275cc engine was tuned to deliver 104 bhp [2] and with a registration number almost identical to the victorious 1964 Mini (L33 EJB): thirty years after his famous win, Hopkirk and his co-pilot Ron Crellin finished the race at an incredible 60th place against much more modern and powerful machines.

In 2010, he was among the first four inductees into the Rally Hall of Fame, along with Mäkinen, Rauno Aaltonen and Erik Carlsson.[3]


He married his wife Jennifer in 1967: they have 3 children. His wife was High Sheriff of Buckinghamshire in 2005.


Paddy Hopkirk is a brand of automotive accessories (for example, roof bars) named after Hopkirk.[4]



  1. ^ Pfundner, Martin (2005). Alpine Trials & Rallies: 1910 to 1973. Veloce Publishing Ltd. pp. 90–91. 
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ "New Inductees to Rally Hall of Fame". Neste Oil Rally Finland. 9 February 2011. Retrieved 27 March 2012. 
  4. ^ JAC Products Web Site showing Paddy Hopkirk Limited, UK and Mont Blanc Industri AB, Sweden


  • Paddy Hopkirk and T R Entwistle, The Longest Drive of All: Paddy Hopkirk's story of the London-Sydney motor rally (1969), G.Chapman, 48pp, ISBN 0-225-48860-4
  • Bill Price and Paddy Hopkirk, The Paddy Hopkirk Story: A Dash of the Irish (2005), J H Haynes & Co Ltd, 176pp, ISBN 1-84425-110-1