Mick ‘Duffy’ Collard 1946- 2016
Mick ‘Duffy’ Collard commenced his oval racing career at the age of 16 driving Formula 2 stock cars for Spedeworth at the Reading Tilehurst track when his father bought him an ex-norman Hicks Y-type Ford.
But it was to be the old Aldershot track which would become almost synonymous with the Collard name, Mick wrecking his last F2 there before moving on to race Saloon Stock cars. When his Mk1 Ford Cortina GT was deemed ‘too advanced’ for the formula, he cut the car up in disgust, transferred many of the parts to a Ford Anglia, and launched a career as a Hot Rod driver.
In a television interview in 2013, Mick explained from where the nickname had come. “I used to play rugby at school and I used to make a lot of duff passes so I ended up being called Duffy,” he explained. “Then, when I raced Hot Rods, I had a reputation for duffing people up so the name just stuck!”
It wasn’t long before Mick – or Duffy– was living up to the nickname. He was squaring up to the other aces of the era, notably George Polley and Barry Lee, the trio becoming forever known as The Big Three. Their sometimes less than fully non-contact dices at tracks like Wimbledon, Aldershot, Eastbourne and Ipswich became the stuff of legend and helped fuel the huge following the formula built throughout the 1970s.
It was however, sometimes a Big Three with only two active members with Mick – who often courted controversy – occasionally sidelined through racing bans. Such antics only added to the Collard fan-base though, a following further boosted when a full length feature film entitled ‘ Hot Rod Breeder & Pig Racer’ was released which highlighted Mick’s success as both a pig farmer and a race car driver.
Motorsport News sends its condolences to his wife Leslie, son Robert and daughters Karen, Julia and Maria, and his many family and friends.