John Davenport - Obituary for Björn Waldegård

Eifel Rallye 2002

I knew Björn from his first RAC Rally appearance in 1965 until his last appearance on a competitive event - the Safari Classic of 2013. I was reporting rallies during his early successes, particularly the Monte Carlo victories of 1969 and 1970. I never co-drove with him in the proper sense but I did sit beside him on half a dozen 'Slowly Sideways' events in Porsche 911s and Toyota Celica Turbos. A nicer man you could not have wished to meet for whom I think no one could possibly have a bad word. Technically competent concerning the car and a brilliant natural driver behind the wheel, he will be universally mourned.

My favourite Waldegård story is a tale once told me by Tony Fall. He was doing the RAC Rally of 1965 in a Mini Cooper S and running just four numbers behind Björn's VW1600. On one of the long stages in Kielder, they came across the VW off the road. Its crew was out the car and working on the problem but Tony didn't think to see them again. Then towards the end of the stage, the lights of a faster car came up behind them and the Mini pulled over to let it through. It was, as you might have guessed, the Waldegård Volkswagen !

John Davenport