Monte Carlo Rally veteran to be part of race’s 56-year return to Banbury

Patrick Walker, from Fenny Compton, with his Mini Cooper rally car which raced in versions of the Monte Carlo Rally 17 times. NNL-171219-145648009
Patrick Walker, from Fenny Compton, with his Mini Cooper rally car which raced in versions of the Monte Carlo Rally 17 times. NNL-171219-145648009

A car collector will have a prized possession on display when the Rallye Monte Carlo Historique comes to Banbury in February as it has a special connection to the race.

Partrick Walker will be a proud man when his vintage Mini Cooper is part of the event as it took part in the 1963 race, the year after it last came through Banbury.

Patrick, whose family used to run Fenny Compton Garage, has a collection of rally cars including five Minis.

Oxford Motor Club agreed to let him bring his red Cooper to the event which brings the historic version of the Monte Carlo Rally back to Banbury after a 56-year break.

“Although my car didn’t do the 1962 rally, it did it in 1963 so that’s something,” he said.

“But it also did the 1962 Royal Automobile Club Rally, which didn’t go through Banbury, so it’s had quite a history this car.

“It’s had new engines and body chassis’ but it’s the same car, it’s done nine Monte Carlo Rallies and eight retro ones, as well as five Alpine Rallies, around 60 in total.”

Patrick has had the Mini for about a decade so having it on display in the town centre in February will be a highlight.

“I’ve spoken to Oxford Motor Club and they want to borrow one of my cars to exhibit at the event for the classic rally, which I’m really looking forward to,” he said.

Patrick’s love of rallying and motorsport in general is the reason he collects the cars.

“I’ve always had an interest in motorsport but you’ve got to earn money and have a job, but buying them and looking after them is the closest I’ll get to racing,” he said.

“If it’s done something interesting or owned by somebody, that piques my interest, mostly early cars, hopefully ex-works.”

As well as collecting the vintage vehicles, Patrick enjoys taking them to meetings like the Race Retro at Stoneleigh Park. He used to have a go at racing them but has called stop to that.

“It got to the stage were what I am capable of doing is not up to scratch but I enjoy demonstrating it,” he said.

“Plus you get to meet likeminded people and talk about their cars which I really enjoy.”

Up to 30 classic, rally-prepared cars from across the UK will visit Banbury on February 1, with displays and entertainment from 11.30am to 1pm.