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A Short Appreciation, Will Sparrow | A Name to Reckon With

*70’s leading national rally star passes away at 78

*Sparrow was road rally star in Minis in the 60s

A Short Appreciation, Will Sparrow | A Name to Reckon With

Will Sparrow had a memorable name, but in the competitive world of national UK rallying his name was one to be reckoned with! Stamping his name on the sport in the 60s in his Mini and its long association with ‘Cars and Car Conversations’ magazine emblazoned along its flanks, he won the 1970 Welsh Rally in his Mini Cooper S navigated by Nigel Raeburn.

Having made the winning transition from road rallying to stage rallying, Will then transitioned from Mini to works supported Vauxhall Magnum Coupe and later in the seventies there was more success with Chrysler Avengers for the works team.

The Vauxhall Magnum Coupe was an exciting addition to the shapes of manufacturers rally cars in national and international events such as the Lombard RAC, Manx and Welsh, but not quite as exciting as watching Will flinging the pretty coupe around in the forests. Whether tarmac or loose surface, he was competitive and proved it yet again on the infamous 1976 Tour of Britain by finishing third overall and winning his class amongst the best rally and racing drivers in the world, putting many of them behind him.

In the RAC rallies of the 70s, he was 11th in the Cooper S navigated by Nigel Raeburn (1971), then his best of 9th with Ron Crellin in the Vauxhall Magnum Coupe (1975). On both events Will won the class.

Other outstanding results through his highly successful rallying career included winning the Plains Rally in his Mini Cooper S with Nigel Raeburn, the successful crew finishing second overall on the 1971 Welsh Rally when the team switched to an unfancied Mini Clubman which went to prove the doubters wrong.

The same when he switched to the works Chrysler team with the Avenger, he was regularly finishing in the top ten such as on the gruelling Circuit of Ireland when he finished 6th overall (1977) winning the class as he had done in 1976.

Will Sparrow’s name is carved deep into the UK Rallying’s Hall of Fame list, so together with his exploits behind the wheel and his endearing personality, he will be ever remembered.

To his family, friends and the rally world, HERO-ERA offers its sincere condolences.

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