2001 World Rally Champion Richard Burns’ Killarney link

Richard Burns, in the red jacket, at the 1992 Rally of the Lakes. Photo by Clive Jenkins –

A rare photo of 2001 World Rally Champion Richard Burns at the 1992 Rally of the Lakes has emerged on-line in recent days.

Burns would have been 49 on Thursday this week and his fans took to social media outlets to remember him on his birthday.

Burns was a British rally driver who won the 2001 World Rally Championship, having previously finished runner-up in the series in 1999 and 2000. He also helped Mitsubishi to the world manufacturers’ title in 1998, and Peugeot in 2002. He also drove professionally for Subaru.

He died in 2005 after suffering a brain tumour.

Back in 1992 his career was very much on the ascendency. He had just won the British National Rally Championship driving a Group N Subaru Legacy and for the following season he signed for Prodrive and went on to win the British Open Rally Championship – now known simply as the BRC.

 He was a life-long member of Reading-based Craven Motor Club in the UK and members of this club were (and still are) regular visitors to the Rally of the Lakes.

Welsh driver Pauline Churchill and her codriver Clive Jenkins contested the 1992 Gleneagle Hotel Rally of the Lakes driving a Porsche 911.

They were seeded 30, one place behind local rallying stalwarts Vincent O’Shea and Brian Hickey who were at the wheel of a Vauxhall Chevette HSR.

Craven Motor Club crews, in a tradition that still holds fast to this day, used to bring a large group of traveling volunteer mechanics with them when they contested Irish rallies and Burns was part of the service crew for the Churchill/Jenkins Porsche.

Jenkins shared the rare photo, from his own personal collection, on social media platforms on Thursday, to mark Burns’ 49th birthday.

He is not the only world champion with links to Killarney. Colin McRae, the 1995 world champion, drove a 00 Ford Escort in 2005 and Bijorn Waldegard, the 1979 (and first-ever) world champion contested the 1994 rally in a Porsche 911.

Burns links to Killarney run deep too. Killarney native and current London Irish Motor Club chairman Mickey Smith is a life-long member of Craven Motor Club and was one of several members of that club that helped steer Burns on to the national and world stage at the start of his career.

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