The creator of rallycross, whose original made-for-TV concept of short races over mixed surfaces, contested by cars with which the ‘man-in-the-street’ could identify, proved an instant success and remains the bedrock of the sport’s popularity five decades later.
Reed conceived the idea of rallycross while working on a rain affected televised hillclimb event at Harewood in November 1966. Watching cars slip and slide down the muddy farm track from the top of the hill to the start line, Reed thought the combination of surfaces was more fun than the event he was broadcasting.
A subseqent meeting Bud Smith helped frame the idea for which Smith then procured use of Bill Chesson’s Lydden circuit.
Reed pulled the TV side of the plan together and, on Frebruary 4 1967, the first rallycross event was run. The second show was commissioned before the day was out and a new sport had been born.
Reed continued to work on televised rallycross events until the early 70s when his career and the development of rallycross diverged.
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