“Park wasn’t my co-driver, I was his pilot”


Today marks 10 years from the tragic accident that took the life away from Michael “beef” Park. For me it was the period when I was following WRC closely and was cheering Markko Märtin up as a future champion. Unfortunately at the end of 2005 season their car hit a tree at close to 200km/h on SS15 of Wales Rally great Britain and the accident was fatal. After the crash, an emotional Markko said: “Park wasn’t my co-driver, I was his pilot”.


Year later, on 20th of June, WRC stars from all over the world came to Tallinn for memorial opening. I believe, never since, so many motorsport stars visited Estonia: Markko Märtin, Colin McRae, Petter Solberg,  Sebastian Loeb, Marcus Grönholm, Tommi Mäkinen, Mikko Hirvonen, Chris Atkinson, Harri Rovanperä, Guy Wilks, Kris Meeke, Markku Alen, Toni Gardemeister, Mark Higgins, Matthew Wilson, Daniel Elena, Timo Rautiainen, Phil Mills. Team bosses Malcolm Wilson, Christian Loriaux, Jean-Pierre Nicholas and David Lapworth were also present.


After the opening, guest drove to Saku Suurhall, where charity karting event was held. Already then I was making pictures with some small 4 megapixel pocket camera, but sadly I lost the pictures. After googling the Internet, I found only one album still active: https://picasaweb.google.com/105889638715745513453/StarTrack2006# . Thank you for keeping it live Tiit Aunaste.


Since 2006 “Michael Park Beef Trophy” is awarded annually to a co-driver who has best demonstrated the overall qualities associated with Michael during his career, with consideration taken into account of overall performances, attitude, commitment and other specific actions or achievements.