Paddy Hopkirk is acknowledged as the international ‘Mini Legend’ with his iconic win at the 1964 Monte Carlo Rally, catapulting both Paddy and the Mini into popularity. His contributions to motorsport have covered almost seven decades with his first taste of victory arising from the 1953 Cairncastle Hillclimb in a Volkswagen Beetle.
Accepted as one of the Standard-Triumph team, Paddy competed in the Tulip Rally, Circuit of Ireland and Coupes des Alpes throughout the late fifties before joining the BMC and making his first home international appearance with Jack Scott in the 1962 RAC Rally. The victories that followed certified Paddy Hopkirk as a significant name in the golden era of rallying; working with some of the worlds most influential names to secure the emblematic reputation of both the Mini and the people that helped build it’s success.
Following Paddy’s pivotal year in 1994, the following year followed with the BMC Works team and Paddy embarking on further rallying successes. This year we celebrate one of those successes in the 50-year anniversary of Paddy Hopkirk’s win at the 1965 Circuit of Ireland.
Above: Castrol Achievements 1965
Paddy embarked on the Circuit of Ireland with Belfast born co-driver, Terry Harryman. The rally began in Bangor and Paddy soon took the lead from Porsche racing legend, Vic Elford who drove a works Cortina GT. Once all cars had reached Killarney that evening for the overnight rest stop, Paddy had lost the lead – a fallback, which would later be reprised the next day. As we know, the choice of tryes will make the biggest difference when suited to the weather and road conditions – on the Sunday Paddy was to use racing tyres on the Mini Cooper S, a decision which would reward him with a 16 second advantage on the other cars, regaining the lead with help from Terry’s local experience.
This lead extended to the finish line with Paddy gaining an outright victory to win the Gallagher Trophy, the Autosport Trophy and the Londonderry trophy for first in class. The following year, fellow BMC driver Tony Fall with co-driver Henry Liddon would take his first win in a Mini Cooper before Paddy Hopkirk re-lived the excitement with additional win of the Circuit of Ireland in 1967 – his third victory in this championship, including his 1962 win – the first for a Mini Cooper at the Circuit of Ireland.
Above: Paddy Hopkirk performs a brake test before the 1967 Circuit of Ireland
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of Paddy Hopkirk’s win at the Circuit of Ireland, we are offering 10& off the entire Paddy Hopkirk Mini Collection with a free BMC 60th anniversary with every purchase over £25.00. Be sure to visit www.minisport.com to take advantage of this deal and with free UK delivery & £10 off international delivery until this weekend you can celebrate guilt-free!
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