As I’m sure most of you will know that Scotland has recently lost four of its Motorsport legends. A few paragraphs on each is included in this Newsletter.
Membership – we now have over 260 members in our Association which is most encouraging, although as mentioned above we have lost a few. Since the last reunion on 27th October 2007, we had welcomed the following to our ranks:
Duncan Laing, Croftamie, Stirlingshire Stuart Turner, Chipping Norton, Oxon
Norman Gowans, Castle Douglas Jim McGaughey, Lochgilphead
Gordon Brown, Paisley David Leslie, Banbury, Oxon
George Cooper, Kilsyth Stephen Cooper, Cumbernauld
Bob Leckie, Inverurie David Ross, Aberdeen
Graeme Henderson, Westhill, Aberdeenshire Iain Nicolson, East Calder
David Simon, Westhill, Aberdeenshire
Knockhill Classic Speedfair – Sunday 8th June 2008
There will be another Speedfair at Knockhill this year, albeit a day shorter and earlier than before. As well as the usual exhibits and races, both Ferrari and Lotus Cars will be there in force. Races for both marques will feature, as well as races for Scottish Classic Sports Cars. The new Jimmy Stewart Trophy will be awarded to the winner of this latter event. As usual, we expect to be there at the Media Centre. So you are all welcome to drop in and see what we have to offer!!? I have enclosed a “VIP” Parking Ticket for those members who will wish to attend.
“The Run” –
As it had been agreed that the next Reunion would not be held until 2010, it was suggested that we should be doing something between now and then. As a result, the idea of “An Event” was mooted! This would be a two-day affair starting on a Friday next spring and be based in Grantown-on-Spey. Members would get there via a “Run” starting from various points in Scotland, viz: Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, etc. “Entertainments” and “visits” would be arranged for the Saturday and both evenings. Bob Baillie is in charge of planning and more details will be issued in due course.
Bo’ness Hill Climb Revival –
Some of you may have heard of the revival of the famous Bo’ness Hill Climb, Scotland’s very first racing venue. Indeed a club has been formed, namely “The Bo’ness Hill Climb Revival Club” (BHCR).and already they have over 70 members! It is the BHCR’s intention to hold their first event for cars and bikes over the weekend of 9th/10th August 2008. They have had the approval of Falkirk Council, who are sharing the costs involved in the safety upgrades required by the MSA. The vehicles must be pre1972, be on treaded tyres and without wings. This will be a closed club meeting and those wishing to compete will have to join the club. This can be done by getting a membership form from Bill Drysdale, Membership Secretary, Kirklands, Summerhill, Ayton, Eyemouth, TD14 5QZ or email email@example.com The annual fee is £20. We certainly wish BHCR every success in their venture.
VSMA Merchandise –
Following the success of the VSMA anoraks (over 40 have been purchased to date), we have introduced a couple of other items of apparel which should be available to view and purchase at Knockhill. The first is a V-necked pullover in both lambswool and sweatshirt material. The second is (as requested by a member with a very wide parting), a baseball type cap to fit all sizes.
Jimmy Stewart: 1931 – 2008
As I’m sure most of you will know, Jimmy Stewart, elder brother of Jackie our Honorary President, died on 3rd January 2008. He would certainly be known to most of our older “Veterans” as one of the earliest “names” in Scottish Motor Racing, but perhaps not to our younger members. His Motorsport career began at the age of 18 in 1949 driving an MG TC at various hill climbs and sprints in Scotland including the “Rest” and Bo’ness hill climbs. He then went on in a Healey Silverstone to compete in race meetings at the few Scottish venues at the time such as Winfield, Turnberry and Charterhall. It was at an event at the latter venue when he was noticed by David Murray who went on to establish Ecurie Ecosse. David was keen for Jimmy to become involved with Ecurie Ecosse Team but he would have to supply his own C-type Jaguar! Fortunately, Jimmy’s dad Bob, who was an Austin Agent and an enthusiastic supporter of Jimmy’s motorsport career, did just that – bought him the car! Thereafter his career blossomed, competing in events with Ecurie Ecosse not just in the UK but all over the world. He also drove for works Jaguar and Aston Martin. He was competing at the time when there were so many now-famous people around, such as Fangio, Ascari, Stirling Moss and Mike Hawthorn. Like most young men at that time, he was required to do National Service. However, his C.O. in the R.E.M.E managed to wangle his release so that he could race at meetings all over the UK and abroad, including Argentina! In 1953, in the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, in a Cooper Bristol, he crashed while lying 5th overall but also the leading UK driver at the time!
In the 1954 Le Mans, while driving the works Aston Martin DB3S Coupe, he had very high-speed accident resulting in severe injury to his right elbow. Although this took a long time to heal he was able to compete later at the Nurburgring. However, luck was not with him and he was involved in yet another crash. As a result, at the age of 24, although due to partner Mike Hawthorn in the 1955 Le Mans 24 hour race in the Ecurie Ecosse D-type, Jimmy decided to retire from motor racing.
One can only speculate what heights he might have reached if he had been able to continue his racing career. As we know, brother Jackie followed in his footsteps – and the rest is history.
Following his retiral from active motorsport, he returned to the motor trade where he worked in Sales, both in the UK and in the United States. He married, had two children, separated, eventually settled in Rhu where he lived until his death. He leaves a daughter Jane and son Ian, both of whom presently reside in Germany.
Stuart Parker, Secretary
Mike Fenwick: 1925 – 2008
Mike joined our Association at the Knockhill Speedfair only last year while acting as a Steward of the Meeting! He will certainly be known to most of our motor and motorcycling racing colleagues as a Steward at the numerous car and bike meetings throughout the UK. But perhaps he was not known so well to those in rallying. In pre-motorsport life, he had had a varied and adventurous life. He was a commando during the world war II and saw active service in the Far East. He first venture into the sport in the 1950s was at Brands Hatch where he had raced. But he soon took up marshalling instead, and eventually became a steward of race meetings. It was not long before he was acting as an RAC Steward throughout the UK, in both car and motorcycle events. This continued when he came up to make Scotland his home. He established the Scottish branch of the British Racing Sports Car Club (BRSCC); ran race meetings at Croft; was the founding chairman of the Scottish Sprint and Hill Climb committee. He helped to set up the Doune Hill Climb; was clerk of the course at Ingliston in Edinburgh; was a founder member and lifelong supporter of the Scottish Motor Racing Club. In 1998 he was awarded the Jim Clark Award for services to the sport and in the same year, his contribution to motorsport was recognised when he was awarded Prince Michael of Kent Award of Merit.
Away from motorsport and pre-retirement, he was involved in the wine trade and ran a successful wine business in Perth. On retirement from the trade, he and his wife Edna, whom he had married in 1949, moved to Biggar, where he lived until his death. Although his wife pre-deceased him, Mike continued to support Motorsport, as an active RAC and MSA steward. He was one of the UK’s longest serving stewards and had a great and lasting influence on all aspects of motorsport.†
He encouraged his sons John and Andrew to follow in his footsteps. They both inherited his motorsport “bug”, Andrew becoming the chief observer for the Scottish Motor Racing Club and John a steward for international events in England. Mike should have retired from motorsport at 65 but was still travelling all over the UK up until last year. He had signed up again for 2008!
Mike died suddenly aged 82 on 9th February 2008.
He will be remembered as a man who had time for everybody and who enjoyed life to the full. A sad loss to Motorsport.
Stuart Parker, Secretary
Ian D. Muir: 1937 – 2008
Ian died suddenly in Ireland. Ireland had become his second home for the past 18 years or so. He started life in Motherwell being educated at Dalziel High School where he was very active in sports. After school, he qualified as a Quantity Surveyor where he worked for various concerns and projects, some of which included Disney World in Paris and others throughout the Far East and America. His involvement with Motorsport started in 1962 and continued for the next 20 years. He began by joining the Lanarkshire Car Club and remained a member all of that time. The Club’s main activities were rallying, autotests, rallycross and the occasional sprint event. Ian was drawn more to rallying where he excelled as a navigator and co-driver, although he did take part in the other events but on an official basis. He eventually became President of LCC in the 70s He quickly went from Club to National and then International events. He co-drove for many famous names including Drew Gallacher, Jimmy McRae, Pier Ekland, Stig Blomquist, etc. He took his career as a co-driver very seriously indeed. So much so, that when he was asked to partner Stig Blomquist with Saab, Ian taught himself Swedish which he was still able to speak! Although he was involved as a co-driver at all levels, he will be remembered surely as one of the sports great organisers, particularly as the person who put the Burmah Rally on the map. Ian was Clerk of Course from the first National Burmah Rally in 1970, right through until it became an International event in 1977. The success of these rallies was well known and this was due to Ian’s attention to detail and the fact that as a competitor he knew what made a good event and designed the event accordingly. He introduced many features which are today taken for granted. Perhaps his greatest asset was his ability to handle people. I was his Secretary of the Meeting for these events and was privy to Ian’s skill in this department, particularly with foresters. He retired as CoC in order that he could compete in the 1978 event with Jimmy McRae. Unfortunately, finish they did not! I have had many emails from the Motorsport community. Here are some of the comments:- “…a top class navigator and born organiser.”, “…a stalwart of Scottish Motor Sport”, “…I thought Ian was the best looking CoC in the UK (from a lady co-driver)”, “…Burmah was also one of the best organised in the RAC Championship.”, “…Ian stood out from his contemporaries in his attention to detail.” One of the other strings to his bow was his capacity as a commentator, particularly at Knockhill during the 70s. He did this for about 5 to 6 years commentating on everything from Karting, rallycross to racing. This was helped by his profound knowledge of the competitors and their vehicles. He was very proud of the fact that he did a live BBC commentary at a Formula 3 event at Knockhill.
After he moved on from active motorsport involvement he went back to his other love – Rugby. He became involved with the West of Scotland Rugby Club, coaching the under 21s. When he moved to London in 1984 he continued with the London Scottish club. He became Chairman of the Anglo-Scottish Under the 20s and was an instigator in getting people such as Matt Duncan and Rob Wainwright to the attention of the Scottish Rugby Union. Wainwright played for Scotland over 30 times and was Captain of Scotland 16 times – something of which Ian was very proud.
Ian had married Helen White from Hamilton. They lived in Cambuslang where they had three children, Innes, Ailsa and Iona. Innes followed his father’s footsteps as a Surveyor and still avidly follows Motorsport, but both girls now live in the USA. After Ian and Helen divorced Ian moved to London. He subsequently remarried Rosalie, an Irish girl and settled with her in the West of Eire. They had a daughter Etain in 1990.
Ian was cremated in Ireland but it is the family’s intention to hold a Memorial Service for him in Scotland, towards the end of August or the beginning of September.
Our thoughts are with Ian’s family at this time. He will be missed by many people especially those in Motorsport.
Stuart Parker, Secretary
David Leslie: 1953- 2008
As we all know David died tragically in a plane accident on 30th March. My first memories of David were at Ingliston in the late sixties/early seventies where I was a commentator. Even then his undoubted talent and competitiveness were obvious, having been nurtured in the very competitive arena of Go-kart racing. The last time I spoke with him (he was always very approachable), was at the Knockhill Classic event in July last year, an event in which he went back, almost to his roots, driving a Formula Ford single seater. David had, very recently, become a member of our Association. It is with extreme sadness that I write this short appreciation.
Jimmy McInnes, Chairman
That’s all for now.