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Karting legend Martin Hines passes away

Martin HinesKarting legend Martin Hines has passed away at the age of 64.

Hines won 17 karting titles during a remarkable career, including FIA world championships in 1983, '91 and '92, five European titles, and six British crowns.

So synonymous was he with the sport he loved, he earned the moniker 'Mr Karting', and was something of a household name - alongside the likes of James Hunt and Barry Sheene - in the early '80s when Superkarts was still shown on terrestrial television.

Hines was equally successful off-track in the karting world and motorsport world.

Having formed his Zip Kart business in 1964, he not only built and prepared karts for aspiring youngsters at the top level of the karting scene, he acted as a mentor to several of Britain's leading racing drivers in recent decades through his Young Guns team.

David Coulthard, Lewis Hamilton, Anthony Davidson, Gary Paffett, Jason Plato, Oliver Turvey, Mike Conway and James Calado are just some of the active drivers who benefited from Hines' guidance during their formative years in motorsport.

Hines' son Luke also went into motor racing, establishing a successful career in touring cars and more recently sportscar racing.

In his autobiography Every Split Second Counts, published in 2008, Hines said: "Over the years people have said nice things about me and what I have done for karting, but it's only fair to say that, no matter how much I have given the sport, karting has given me much, much more in return.

"The thrill of watching kids such as Luke, DC, Gary Paffett, Jason Plato, Lewis Hamilton and all the others grow up into top-class racing drivers would in itself be enough reward."

Hines, who battled various personal tragedies through his life, including the loss of his daughter Kelly in 1998. He survived a life-threatening stomach cancer not long after that.

In recent years Hines had sought to expand his business interests and acquired Grand Prix Racewear in 2009, moving both this and his Zip Kart enterprise to Silverstone. He is also believed to have been considering setting up his own British Touring Car Championship team for 2012.

Hines was diagnosed with cancer earlier this year, and died in the early hours of Sunday morning.

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Tributes flood in for Martin Hines