Rally hero Paddy sets example for older drivers | Motoring Issues - Car News May 2019

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09:34 Tuesday 14 May 2019

Rallying legend Paddy Hopkirk is still showing other drivers the way to do it, even at the age of 86!

The Belfast-born ace has just passed IAM RoadSmart’s Masters driving qualification with a Distinction, making him one of just 500 advanced drivers to have reached the highest standard available.

There are around 1,000 Masters holders in the UK, with the qualification delivered by IAM RoadSmart – formerly known as the Institute of Advanced Motorists – to further enhance advanced drivers’ skills in cornering principles, safe overtaking manoeuvres, recognising opportunities to make safe progress within the speed limits, improving observation, anticipation and awareness consistent with vehicle speed, and applying sound judgement of speed and distance.

Paddy, who now travels the UK giving voluntary talks on how older people can drive safely and confidently on today’s roads, was assessed last week by IAM’s Head of Driving and Riding Standards, Richard Gladman, and it was a double celebration for the Hopkirk family as Paddy’s 47-year-old son Patrick was also successful in achieving the Masters with Distinction qualification.  Paddy had already successfully passed the IAM Advanced Driving Course – on two occasions 27 years apart! – as well the Mature Driver Review.

“I enjoyed taking the Masters as did Patrick, and am delighted to have reached Distinction”, said Paddy.

“It is proof that there is no age barrier to being better and safer behind the wheel.  It doesn’t matter if you are a rally winner or a daily commuter, everyone can be a better driver.  I really want to keep developing my driving skills because the roads are always changing – it is very important to be aware of what is around you, and to make sure that all road users are protected from the risk of injury as much as is possible.”

National treasure Paddy, who was awarded an MBE in 2016, famously won the 1964 Monte Carlo Rally behind the wheel of a Mini Cooper S.  Road safety has always been important to the Ulsterman, who gave up an almost certain victory in the 1968 London-to-Sydney Marathon to help co-drivers Alec Poole and Tony Nash pull two badly injured competitors from their burning car just two stages from the end.


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