TRIBUTES have been paid to Alcester rally ace Russell Brookes, who was killed in a crash.

The double British Rally Champion, aged 74, died following a collision on Captains Hill, Alcester, at around 4pm on October 29.

It’s not believed any other vehicles were involved.

The only son of a firefighter, Brookes made his competitive debut in club events in 1963.

At first he drove a number of privately entered cars including a BMC Mini Cooper.

Progress was slow until 1973 without the support of family money in a sport which, at that time, did not permit sponsorship of individual cars.

He then came to the attention of the Ford Motor Company when contesting their Ford Escort Mexico (One Make) championship.

In 1974, Brookes started one of the longest running sponsorship deals in motorsport when he signed with Andrews - Heat for Hire (a portable heating and air conditioning company).

Their distinctive yellow colour scheme graced nearly all of his cars through to 1991.

In 1976, Brookes was invited to join the Ford 'works' team to drive an Escort RS1800 in the British Rally Championship.

He won the Open Championship in 1977 and then stayed with Ford until the end of the 1979 World Rally Championship season.

After a couple of seasons in uncompetitive machinery, Brookes was back with Ford in 1988 in their Sierra Cosworth.

He retired from competitive rallying in 1991 but was still making sporadic appearances in various cars on historic rallies and at motorsports events.

A popular figure with British rally fans, his death came as a shock with thousands posting tributes on social media last week.

His family also paid tribute.

They said: "On Tuesday evening, Russell Brookes passed away suddenly whilst out on his bike in Alcester. He was dearly loved and will be remembered with fondness and admiration by all who knew him.

"As a family, we are so comforted by the support that is being shown by all whom he knew and inspired. We want to thank everyone in the emergency services and the general public who tried so valiantly to help him that evening.

"We will be holding a private service for friends and family in the coming weeks.

"There will also be a memorial tribute for Russell at a later date for those who wish to celebrate his life and achievements."

Officers are continuing to appeal to anyone who witnessed the incident to call Warwickshire Police on 101, quoting incident number 314 of 29 October 2019.