Former RAC Rally and Rally GB clerk of the course Malcolm Neill died last week following a short illness.
Born into a motorsport family, Neill’s father Gordon raced Bugattis and organised the Circuit of Ireland Rally – an event Malcolm ran himself in the early 1970s.
It was, however, running Britain’s round of the World Rally Championship for which he will be best remembered. For 14 years, from 1986 to 2000 (10 as clerk of the course and four as rally manager), Neill ruled over the event through arguably its biggest and most successful years with Britain’s Colin Mcrae winning in that period.
Current Rally GB co-ordinator Andrew Kellitt was employed by Neill in 1989.
“This rally has an awful lot to thank Malcolm for,” said Kellitt. “When it was clear we had to allow a recce on the event, it was Malcolm who made it a two-pass speed restricted recce, which has become standard around the world.
“The success of the Sunday stages, when there was reported to be a million and a half spectators, was thanks to Malcolm’s diligence is doing commercial deals with the venues – he was more than just a clerk of the course.”
When he stepped down from Rally GB, he worked closely to establish Rally of Turkey and Mexico as WRC rounds, his association with the Mexicans remained this season. As well as that, he established The Rally Show, which brought crowds to Chatsworth and Cornbury for a weekend of rallying.
Beyond his time as an organiser, he was also a successful co-driver, winning the 1976 Donegal Rally with Brian Nelson in a Porsche 911.
Malcolm’s funeral service takes place at West Berkshire Crematorium, Bath Road, Thatcham, Berkshire, RG19 4LD on Monday July 25 at midday. Friends are invited to the service and a celebration of Malcolm’s life which follows at Wasing Park, Aldermaston, Berkshire, RG7 4NE.
MN extends its deepest sympathies to his wife Irene, children Andrew and Helen and many family and friends around the world.