In 1964, The Beatles were at the height of their success, Mohammed Ali won his first World heavyweight championship title, Sean Connery in ‘Goldfinger’ ranked the top of the box office and Paddy Hopkirk, a humble man from Belfast helped turn the modest Mini into an iconic car that represented an era. Paddy’s win at the Monte Carlo rally in 1964 in his Mini Cooper S, saw him fight of talent from Porsche, Mercedes and Saab for the ultimate and most unexpected victory. This notorious win catapulted Paddy and his Mini into Motorsport stardom as he went on to be regarded as ‘The Mini Legend’ by fans across the globe, receiving telegrams from the British Government and The Beatles in appreciation. Paddy continued to compete internationally following the win and was elected a life member of the British Racing Drivers’ Club in 1967. However, despite a renowned win at The Monte Carlo Rally and generous contributions to Motorsport across his 60 year career; it seems almost inconceivable that Paddy Hopkirk has never received a recognised accolade for his achievements.
Paddy now acts as the President of the Historic Rally Car Register, which celebrates cars manufactured between the 1950’s and 1980’s with a series of events and rally competitions. A collection of car parts and accessories which replicate the quality and aesthetic of the originally innovative Classic Mini have now been launched under the ‘Paddy Hopkirk‘ brand, designed by Paddy in collaboration with Mini Sport.
Outside of Motorsport, Paddy acts as a supporter for several charities. Most significantly ‘Skidz’ to which Paddy is a Patron, with a hands-on approach to educating youths whom face unemployment and ‘The Integrated Education Fund’ which aims to develop integrated schools in Ireland.
It’s without doubt that Paddy Hopkirk deserves recognition for his continuous contributions as a sportsman in Northern Ireland and merit for his personal achievements beyond his acknowledged exploits.
The Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards have noted Paddy, as one of twenty sportsmen and women from Northern Ireland who compete for the Number One title of ‘Northern Irelands Greatest Ever Sports Star’. Voting closes on the 12th of January and we urge you to vote for Paddy Hopkirk – The Mini Legend to be awarded as ‘Northern Irelands Greatest Ever Sports Star‘. Please click here to make the difference.