If, like me and many others, you cared at all about the World Rally Championship during the 1980s and later, your knowledge might well have come from the writing of Martin Holmes, who died this past week, about a month after his 80th birthday.
I never met Martin Holmes, but in my dozen years at AutoWeek magazine, I probably edited dozens upon dozens of his dispatches as he informed the English-speaking world about rallying. It was the era of fax and film. He’d cover a rally and we’d publish the results in our next weekly edition.
Holmes started covering club racing while a law-school student. Later, he not only covered rallying at the top level but was co-driver/navigator to the likes of Timo Makinen, Ove Andersson and Shekhar Mehta, and held the second seat in more than a half-dozen brands of rally cars.
His rallying career began in 1959 and culminated with the British championship beside Chris Sclater in a Ford Escort RS1600 in 1971.
He published his first book on rallying in the mid-1970s and his annual World Rallying yearbooks, published for 33 years, were cherished reference for those following the sport.