TRIBUTES FLOOD IN FOR HOT ROD LEGEND MICK ‘DUFFY’ COLLARD
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.”