Motor Sport News - - Front Page - By Gra­ham Brown

Trib­utes have been paid to Na­tional Hot Rod leg­end Mick ‘Duffy’ Col­lard, who died on Sun­day morn­ing.

While Col­lard also en­joyed suc­cess in both ral­ly­cross and ral­ly­ing at var­i­ous times dur­ing his ca­reer, he will be for­ever re­mem­bered as one of the best of the best be­hind the wheel.

His huge num­ber of race wins are headed by his fa­mous World cham­pi­onship win in 1980, but also in­cluded two vic­to­ries in the Best in Bri­tain, the Na­tional cham­pi­onship, the Euro­pean, and two Bri­tish ti­tles.

His son Rob Col­lard, who is a lead­ing con­tender in the Bri­tish Tour­ing Car Cham­pi­onship, said: “It is very emo­tional. Dad was an in­spi­ra­tion to many, and we are very proud of the way he went about his sport.

“He had a never-give-up at­ti­tude and a de­ter­mi­na­tion to suc­ceed that was clear in the way he drove. That was one of the things that marked him out to fans and some­thing we will al­ways look back on.”

The boss of short oval pro­mo­tions firm Spede­worth, Deane Wood, said although Duffy had been in poor health re­cently, the news still came as a shock.

“Although we all knew Mick had been se­ri­ously ill in re­cent years, he did seem to be do­ing OK and he was just one of those leg­ends who we all thought would live for­ever,” he said.

Col­lard was one of the big three that helped make the sport so pop­u­lar in the 1970s and 1980s, with epic bat­tles be­tween him­self, Barry Lee and Ge­orge Pol­ley.

“He was a huge com­peti­tor, a hard com­peti­tor and a hard busi­ness­man – but I saw an­other side to him when my dad died,” ex­plained Lee. “He helped me through that pe­riod mas­sively. We had some great bat­tles over the years on tracks up and down the coun­try, but we al­ways had re­spect for each other what­ever hap­pened.”

Pol­ley added: “De­spite all the bat­tles on the track and all that went on, we never re­ally had bad words, never re­ally fell out. I’m glad we met up at the last BTCC round at Brands a few weeks ago – he was still the same old Mick. It’s a shame, the end of an era, but he’s left a great legacy which Rob and the boys, Ricky and Jor­dan, will carry on.”

Col­lard won the World Fi­nal in ’80

Pho­tos: Frank Love, Hal Ridge

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