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One of South Australia’s most successful trials and rally drivers, John Taylor, has died. The motorsport enthusiast and competitor died on October 4 after a long illness.

Taylor began racing and rallying a Mini Cooper in the 1960’s and was a leading competitor for many years. After the conclusion of the inaugural London to Sydney Marathon in 1968, he bought one of the Leyland Austin 1800s which he then drove, with Graham West navigating, in the South Australian Rally Championship for several years.

With long distance events becoming increasingly popular, thanks to the influence of the LSM, Taylor drove a BMC works Leyland Kimberley in the 1971 Southern Cross Rally and then used it in the 1972 SARC. He also won the South Australian round of the Australian Rally Championship in the car, against the might of the Holden Dealer Team.

John Taylor is remembered fondly by Jeremy Browne who navigated for Taylor from 1974 to 1977 in a variety of BMC and Leyland vehicles. Together they rallied a 6-cylinder Morris Marina, a Leyland P76 and a Mini Cooper. In the 1977 London to Sydney re-run, Taylor and Browne crewed with Rob Hunt in a Range Rover, finishing second privateer entry.

The Austin 1800 was resurrected for a further London-Sydney Marathon attempt and, with the marathon bug still biting, he drove a Rover V8 in a Round Australia trial. Taylor was passionate about motorsport and helped many other competitors throughout his long career.

He is survived by his wife Di, and children John, Michael and Mary.

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