Sad passing of Paddy Hopkirk – his Kerry connections
Sad news earlier today to learn of the passing of the great Paddy Hopkirk.
Paddy Hopkirk 1933 to 2022
Best known for his exploits at the wheel of a Mini, he won the 1964 Monte Carlo Rally, a result that made him a household name.
International success aside, Paddy had plenty of Kerry connections.
Back in 1957, he recorded one of his first career victories in The Kingdom – the same year he won the Cork ‘20’ for the second time.
He won the Central Hotel Motor Rally, organised by the Kingdom of Kerry Motor Club. The event had three starting points, Nead in Cork, Adare, County Limerick and Castlemaine and finished in Ballybunnion. Paddy was driving a Ford Anglia
He is best known for his five Circuit of Ireland victories, back in the day when the rally was a true five-day circumnavigation of Ireland.
The rally overnighted in Killarney those days.
It gained international status in 1958. The first winner of the international status event was one Paddy Hopkirk driving a Triumph TR3 in his final season with the team.
The next four years were spent driving a Rootes Rapier during which time he repeated his Circuit of Ireland success winning it in 1961 and 1962.
He won again in 1965 and 1967 but this time driving for Mini, a marque he was associated with for the rest of his life.
He also won the 1959 Circuit of Munster, another rally that would have visited Kerry at the time.
Paddy could have been considered an honorary Kerryman – he kept a holiday house in South Kerry for years!
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