Richard Burns loses his final challenge

By Nancy Knapp Schilke

Richard Burns loses his final challenge

Richard Burns' life came to an end Friday, November 25, 2005. The 2001 World Rally champion had been diagnosed with a brain tumor in November 2003, forcing his retirement from WRC competition.

Richard Burns celebrating.
Richard Burns celebrating.
Photo by Subaru World Rally Team.

The ace rally driver fainted prior to the 2003 season's final event in Great Britain, ending his career on November 2nd. Burns' condition was determined to be an astrocytoma and the normal treatment for this form of a tumor is radiation.

In 2001, there was a celebration at the end of the Rally of Great Britain when Burns, known as the "Lionheart", became the first Englishman to win the WRC title -- and to this date, Burns still is the only rally driver from England to have taken the WRC championship.

Just weeks after the celebration, the Subaru World Rally Team took their newly crowned championn to court, leaving his future in the hands of fate London's High Court. Burns had announced prior to the rally in his homeland that he had signed a contract with the French-based Peugeot team for the 2002 season. According to the Japanese Subaru team, Burns was still under contract with them.

In mid-December of 2001, Burns and Subaru settled their dispute out of court. Then, in 2003, after two seasons with Peugeot, and just prior to the brain tumor announcement, Burns had signed a two-year contract to return to the Subaru team.

Burns' accomplishments in WRC started when he joined the Mitsubishi team in 1998 before moving to Subaru in 1999 where he remained for two seasons.

Born in Reading, England on January 17, 1971, the English rallyist was known for his consistency and speed. His first ride was at the tender age of eight when his father, Alex, let him drive a Triumph in the fields near their home.

After being diagnosed with cancer in late 2003, Burns underwent radiation therapy and chemotherapy, and was released from the hospital in the summer of 2004. However, he returned to hospital for surgery in April of this year in what was ultimately an unsuccessful bid to remove the tumor.

It is with sadness that the World Rally community and the WRC fans now bid farewell to the Englishman whose biggest battle in life became surviving -- a battle he finally lost yesterday.

shares
comments
NZV8: Caltex Racing round 2 race notes
Previous article

NZV8: Caltex Racing round 2 race notes

Next article

Atlanta Motor Speedway announces 2006 schedule

Atlanta Motor Speedway announces 2006 schedule
Load comments
Rating the best drivers of the century so far Prime

Rating the best drivers of the century so far

Autosport's Top 50 feature has been a staple of the magazine for the past two decades since its first appearance in 2002. Here are the drivers that have featured most prevalently during that time

General
Jan 7, 2022
The best motorsport moments of 2021 Prime

The best motorsport moments of 2021

Motorsport produced one of its greatest years of all-time in 2021 despite a backdrop of ongoing COVID-19 challenges and an ever-changing racing landscape. Through the non-stop action Motorsport.com has collected the finest moments from the past 12 months to highlight the incredible drama and joy motorsport generates.

General
Dec 31, 2021
The racing comeback artists who resurrected long-dormant careers Prime

The racing comeback artists who resurrected long-dormant careers

Making it in motorsport can be tough, and sometimes drivers move elsewhere before their best chance arrives. Here are some of those who made it back

General
Dec 26, 2021
The one-time Schumacher rival rebooting his career Down Under Prime

The one-time Schumacher rival rebooting his career Down Under

Joey Mawson made waves in the middle of the last decade, beating future Haas Formula 1 driver Mick Schumacher - among other highly-rated talents - to the 2016 German F4 title. A run in F1's feeder GP3 category only caused his career to stall, but now back in Australia Mawson's S5000 title success has set that to rights

General
May 20, 2021
Why Todt’s FIA successor could be cut from the same cloth Prime

Why Todt’s FIA successor could be cut from the same cloth

Jean Todt has signalled that he will not stand for re-election as FIA president. Mark Gallagher analyses the strong credentials of one potential successor…

General
May 2, 2021
The lesson football’s would-be wreckers could learn from racing Prime

The lesson football’s would-be wreckers could learn from racing

OPINION: The greed-driven push for a European Super League that threatened to tear football apart is collapsing at the seams. Motor racing's equivalent, the football-themed Superleague Formula series of 2008-11, was everything that the proposed ESL never could be.

General
Apr 21, 2021
The real-life racing rogues stranger than fiction Prime

The real-life racing rogues stranger than fiction

The forthcoming Netflix film linking the world of underworld crime and motorsport plays on a theme that isn't exactly new. Over the years, several shady figures have attempted to make it in racing before their dubious dealings caught up with them.

General
Jan 31, 2021
The cherished curios kept by motorsport's professionals at home Prime

The cherished curios kept by motorsport's professionals at home

Keeping trophies and momentos of key triumphs is par for the course for motorsport professionals, but what are the most cherished souvenirs picked up by the drivers and engineers who have seen and done it all?

General
Dec 26, 2020