Saturday, September 15, 2007

The Untimely Passing Of Colin McRae

Those of us old enough to remember The Alabama Gang in its heyday can also remember the tragic death of Davey Allison while piloting his helicopter. He was just about to land on the helipad at Talladega when things went very wrong.

Now, that type of tragedy has struck again with the untimely passing of former World Rally Champion Colin McRae. Only thirty-nine years old, McRae was nearing his home in rural Scotland piloting his own helicopter. He was accompanied by his young son and two other passengers. Witnesses describe the fact that a rotor blade suddenly detached from the helicopter and the craft hit the ground immediately. All those aboard perished.

In America, many youngsters only know McRae from his popular video game called Colin McRae Rally. It has appeared in several versions, the latest entitled DIRT. To veteran motorsports fans, he meant much more.

Colin McRae was the Dale Earnhardt Sr. of the WRC. A working class man whose father still runs a heating and air conditioning business, McRae was not impressed by the high and mighty. He was feisty, outspoken, brooding, and drove like hell. When he won, he won big, and when he crashed, he crashed big. McRae was a versatile driver like Dale Senior, and competed in the Dakar Rally and even the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

SpeedVision viewers became fascinated by McRae when the WRC came to SPEED years ago. His feisty determination coupled with a wickedly dry sense of humor endeared him to fans.

In 2006, McRae drove his Subaru in the X-Games on ESPN, and rolled his car completely with two turns to go. As the car landed back on the wheels, he shoved it into drive and finished the race in second place. For fans who have a memory of Dale Senior flipping his car and then driving it onto pit road at Daytona, this was the ultimate link between the two.

With the recent influx of racing stars from other sports to NASCAR, many believe Colin McRae would have loved to try his hand at a Watkins Glen or Sonoma. Now, racing fans are left with the memory of one tough Scotsman who loved to drive whatever he got his hands on to the limit.

Our deepest sympathy to his wife Alison and his remaining family members.

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bevo said...

What a tragic loss.
There's a video clip of his flip on his website

David said...

While I am not, nor have I ever been a rally car fan/follower this is a tragic loss to the motorsport community. Unfortunate that situations like these have to put life in perspective.

Thoughts and prayers with his friends and family.

SophiaZ123 said...

I was not a follower of this driver either but also am saddened by this most tragic of accidents.

Another sad loss to motorsports, indeed.

Condolences to the family.

Anonymous said...

Ditto what David said.


Tripp said...

The WRC is hairy, scary, wild racing and Colin McRae was one of the best there ever was. As John said, there were some important similarities between Colin and Dale Sr. Key among them are that neither man let anything stand between them and the checkered flag.

One could only watch in awe as Colin threw his cars sideways into a turn centimeters away from a precipitous drop at the edge of the roadway. He was an amazing driver and a fierce competitor.

This tragic loss creates a void in the racing world. He will be missed.

Bobby said...

Very sad. Prayers to the family.

Expect his widow and other kids to be in Talladega in 2012. He deserves that induction.

He was a good mix of both Earnhardt and Waltrip. Outspoken, outlaw, Ali-ish, and hardcore racer.

In an age when too many drivers don't want to race in "all-star" formats, he was refreshing.

Catherine said...
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wickedj said...

i follow WRC and its a sport that even Evel Knievel himself would look at and say "no way buddy"

that said those guys have my ultimate respect and its always sad when anyone in motorsports is hurt or worse

best wishes to his family