Colin McRae Dies In Helicopter Accident

Colin McRae Dies In Helicopter Accident

Colin McRae - 1996Former World Rally Champion Colin McRae has passed away following a freak helicopter accident near his home in Lanarkshire, Scotland, last night. With three other people on board, including his son Johnny, McRae was piloting the helicopter when it came down at around 4pm yesterday afternoon. The weather in the area was quite gusty, but visibility was good and McRae knew the area and terrain very well. Colin (39) would often fly all over the country and was a very experienced pilot. But now the McRae family grieves for the loss of their husband and father. Colin’s five year old son Johnny, his friend, six year old Ben Porcelli (6) and Graeme Duncan (37) also passed away in the crash.

Fellow Scot David Coulthard paid his respects to the McRae family and exclaimed his shock at the accident while on the Spa grid preparing for the Belgian Grand Prix.

It’s shocking, Colin was a friend, as is his lovely wife Alison and the family. So obviously there’s disbelief here in the whole paddock that the McRaes have been affected in this way, and obviously another family as well. It’s tragic circumstances. David Coulthard.

Finnish Renault driver Heikki Kovalainen was another racer to have been inspired by McRae during his formative years in lower formulae.

It’s really, really sad to hear the news. His driving style and his way of even living was what captured people’s imagination. He was really daring, always pushing it further.

The first time I met him was the Rally Finland in 1995, when he rolled his Subaru twice. I went to ask for his autograph, and I still have it. Heikki Kovalainen.

Colin is survived by his loving wife Alison and their nine-year-old daughter, Hollie.

Colin McRae, World Rally Championship


  • It’s always sad when someone passes away, especially when the supposed “dangerous” stage of the person’s life and career is over.

    McRae always drove with extreme courage, which ultimately is what drew the public towards him – we always like to see a person who tries their hardest yet seems like us, down to earth.

    His family must be simply devastated – as well as the families of the other people involved. My thoughts, as well as most motorsport fans, will be with his wife and surviving daughter.

  • Some nice quotes there, Ollie. Reading various blog postings, I’m frequently seeing Colin referred to as having been ‘a man of the people’. It sounds like an off-the-shelf phrase that’s been inserted into obituaries with only limited sincerity. But that would be unfair, as demonstrated by this post:

    The above brought back memories of an experience from 2002. I was at Rockingham for the Champ Car race, and noticed a crowd had gathered behind turn 1. Despite having no idea what everyone was looking at I wondered over to join the flock, discovering some impressive looking radio-controlled cars being raced around a track.

    Whilst this wasn’t what I’d gone to Rockingham for, I couldn’t fail to be impressed by the speed of the cars and skill of the drivers, so stayed to watch. After a little while, I turned round to see if the crowd had become any bigger, only to be surprised to find that a certain Colin McRae was standing behind me, watching the goings-on. At this point, a number of other members of the crowd noticed his presence. Colin was immediately besieged with requests for autographs and photos, and appeared happy to oblige, looking totally at ease chatting to the public. This was in complete contrast to the behaviour I’d witnessed from another Rockingham attendee by the name of Juan Pablo Montoya, and even certain Champ Car drivers.

    Colin was a man with no interest in celebrity, yet shared a certain rapport and understanding with those who followed his sport – qualities almost extinct in modern motorsport competitors. He didn’t just have to drive every corner on the absolute limit, he had to be spectacularly entertaining with it. The flair demonstrated over Bunnings Jumps resulted in some of the most impressive motorsport imagery ever produced:

    The level of commitment shown by Colin was breathtaking. He was the most naturally talented driver I’ve ever seen compete. On-board TV footage particularly shows an incomprehensible level of skill.

    I remember the RAC rally, from 1995, with particular fondness. Having had to stop to change a tyre on the longest stage, Colin was two minutes down, and understandably being written off. What followed was close to being surreal, as he set fastest stage time after fastest stage time, to win the rally by over 30 seconds and become the youngest ever World Rally champion.

    The world has been robbed of a true sporting great. Rest in peace, Colin.

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