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Obituary: Rally co-driver and journalist Martin Holmes dies aged 80

When the rally world reconvenes after the Covid-19 hiatus it will be without one of its most ardent supporters and knowledgeable chroniclers, Martin Holmes, who died late last week after a long battle with cancer

Martin had been part of the sport since the 1950s as a journalist, photographer and competitor who last year made the astonishing total of 500 World Rally Championship attendances in his career.

For successive generations in the cockpit, service park and media centre, he was eagle-eyed and ever-present, keen to help bring his experience to anyone who sought counsel - and equally keen to compare notes on the matters of the day.

After debuting in the sport as a student, Holmes became a leading light in the Sutton and Cheam motor club, contributing and editing its newsletter and sending reports to Motoring News and Autosport through the Sixties.

As a competitor he got all the way to the WRC as a co-driver alongside the likes of Andy Dawson, Pentti Airikkala, Ove Andersson and Jean Ragnotti as part of more than half a dozen works teams until the end of 1981.

In 1975, Holmes published his first book and for many his literary output will remain his greatest legacy. The Holmes-anchored annual World Rallying yearbooks covered every international and domestic series worldwide in astonishing depth and detail, relying upon his unique network of journalists, event organisers and team members to ensure unimpeachable accuracy.

Recently, he was glad to recall historical matters that this author was working on, and the organisers of Rally Mexico in March worked diligently to keep him up to date on progress through the weekend.

Reaching his 80th birthday last month was an achievement that he savoured and Autosport sends its sincerest condolences to his family and many friends throughout the sport.

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