Growing up I loved rallying! Nothing captured my imagination and attention more than a WRC car flying through the air with a trail of dust behind it. But more than simply the impressive machines, it was about the impressive men who seemingly defied physics in a display of raw driver talent. Rallying is one of the few “pure” motorsports where there is no hiding in failure, no politics. Man, machine, motivation. One of my heroes was Richard Burns, but today marks 10 years since his tragic and untimely death.
Richard got his first taste of driving off-road in a field using his dad’s old Triumph and from that moment on a star was born. Fighting his way up the ranks, he emerged into WRC with Mitsubishi in 1996. Impressive results over two years lead to Subaru taking on the Brit. Here is where the legend begins. Flat-out, no holding back! Richard Burns didn’t so much drive that Impreza as he did fly it. If you want to see rallying at its best, watch what this man could do with a bug-eyed Subaru. He won the 2001 title. A move to Peugeot presented a fresh start and look promising until something terrible happened.
Richard Burns collapsed shortly before the rally weekend was to get underway. Scans revealed a brain tumour, tragically inoperable and harrowingly fatal. This young man with so much potential, so much talent, was taken far too early.
The Richard Burns Foundation aims to help those who find themselves in Richard’s shoes. It is a great cause and please do check out the video below.
10 Years has passed since he died. I think it is safe to say that WRC, rally fans, and the world, still feels his loss today.