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Remembering the greats: Richard Burns

Updated: Nov 20, 2020


If you are familiar with the Rally World, you most likely have heard of Richard Burns. He is one of Britain's greatest rally drivers, and even had his own rally game released in 2004 for the PlayStation 2, original XBOX and for PC. It was a fantastic game, that I still haven't had the pleasure to play. It was a Simulation game that focused on realism rather then fun, much like DiRT Rally today.


Richard Burns, was born in Reading, England on the 17th of January 1971. He had been driving cars since he was 8 years old, beginning with his father's Triumph 2000 in their house's local field. He also took part in the under 17 car club at 11 years old. For those of you who don't know, the under 17 club is an organisation that allows people under the age of 17 to drive a car. Nowadays there are several events that allow such a thing, but it all began in 1976. At the age of 13 (1984), his father took him to the Welsh forest Rally school. This was the day that Richard was set on his career choice.


After doing a few races in his own car, a Talbot Sunbeam, and then in some borrowed competitor cars, he got the attention of Rally enthusiast David Williams, who would aid Burns in his early rally career. He was just 17 years old at this point. In 1990, Williams bought burns a Peugeot 205 GTI, which allowed him to enter the Peugeot challenge. He won this event, and as a result, won the oppurtunity to drive in an official WRC event. This is where he met his co-driver, Robert Reid. 1n 1992, Williams bought Burns, a Group N Subaru Legacy, and with assistance from Prodrive, Burns, and Reid ended up winning the National Championship. He even got the attention of Colin McRae himself


This was just the start of Richard's success story. He began racing for Mitsubishi Ralliart in 1996. From '96 he gradually got better every year. He got 4th, five times in '97 and 2nd in the Safari rally, placing him 7th overall. In 1998, he got his first ever rally win at the Sfari Rally, and then another win at the season finale of his home turf: Great Britain. He went back to Prodrive Subaru in 1999, where he won a further three times in that year alone. By the time 2001 (my birth year) came around, he had won 9 rallies. But 2001 was even more special for Burns. It was the first, and only time, that he won the championship overall, with 44 points. He ended his rally career in 2003 after racing with Peugeot again for 2 years.


Sadly, Richard burns was placed in a coma after getting a brain tumour. A few days after, on the 25th November 2005, Richard Burns passed away. He was 34 years old. A few memorable people gave tributes to Richard, including Top Gear's Jeremy Clarkson, who read a speech as his funeral. The show Top Gear, also had a tribute to Burns, during Season 7, Episode 4. Richard Burns was taken too soon. A young talent, and a superstar. He will always be remembered in the rally world.




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