Marathon pioneer Nick Brittan dies
- 8th December 2006, 3:22pm
Although no official announcement has been made, it has been widely reported that the man behind some of the world’s best long-distance rallies, Nick Brittan, has died.
RallySport Magazine understands that Brittan’s death occurred some weeks ago in unusual circumstances.
Brittan grew up in England where he developed a love of motorsport, going on to race touring cars successfully on British circuits. He was co-opted into the Ford team for the 1968 London to Sydney Marathon, driving a Cortina with wife Jenny as co-driver, but suffered mechanical problems which forced their retirement along the way.
The love of long distance rallying obviously stirred Brittan’s emotions – he went on the organize and direct no fewer than eight marathon events in his 35-plus years in motorsport – the 1993, 2000 and 2004 London – Sydney Marathon re-runs, the 1995 London – Mexico Rally, the 1997 Panama – Alaska Rally, the 1998 Shield of Africa, the 2001 Yankee Doodle Dawdle, the 2002 Midnight Sun to Red Sea event and 2003 Targa Turkey.
Brittan had at least one other marathon event on the drawing board before he died. He was a master at negotiating with authorities and governments to allow his events to pass through their borders, even in difficult times when there was the threat of war or military action. He also pioneered the use of giant Russian Antanov cargo planes to transport up to 55 cars competing in his events from one country to another, the first (and only) person to use this method.
Although his driving career took a back seat while he stage-managed these events, his much-used Porsche 911 was entered in several of his events, usually with Australian Rick Bates driving and wife Jenny Brittan navigating, often with great success.
His death will leave a huge void in the motorsport world – there is nobody as experienced or as qualified as Brittan to take over from where he left off, nor anybody with the necessary contacts to facilitate a path through most of the world’s poorest countries.
Brittan’s motto was “Nothing is impossible – there are just varying degrees of difficulty.” It was a mantra that he believed in and practiced.
Our condolences go to wife Jenny and family on the loss of Nick.
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