Forgotten hero remembered


I was intrigued to read Doug Nye’s item about Malcolm Sears. I thought I was the only one who remembered that V8 Tiger and its intrepid driver, whom I always think of with great affection as he was a very decent guy. I well remember Malcolm, who would always come by my spot in the paddock to say hello and ask ‘How are things, Brode?’. Malcolm never talked about himself unless you asked how he was doing, and it was always a pleasure to spend a few minutes nattering with him. Unlike me at the time – I was far too important and busy doing 50 races a year and winning in my Lotus Élan and Mk1 Ford Escort, and really only had time for myself.

I remember one day at Brands Hatch in 1971 when Malcolm told me he had just managed to scrounge a set of used tyres, which meant he could race that day, and of course Malcolm came by to say hello to me that fateful day at Oulton Park, when he almost lost his life.

His Tiger was more than a match on the straights for the 2-litre Lotus Élan that I was driving, and when I came up behind Malcolm in practice he would roar off down the straights leaving a cloud of exhaust fumes behind. The day he crashed I was about 200 yards behind him when his car suddenly veered off to the left at very high speed, just at the braking point for the right turn past the pits. It may well have been a mechanical failure, as I have never seen a car go off at that point at such high speed before or since. It was a massive impact as the red Tiger plunged bonnet-first into the earth banking causing a dirty cloud of dust to explode around it. The rear of the car momentarily lifted high and then plopped back onto the grass.

I came to a standstill and got out; it was evident that Malcolm was in a very bad way, and I could see from the marshals’ and medics’ looks that they feared the worst. I drove back to the paddock very slowly, and shed a tear for this lovely man. I’d seen way too many of these over the years.

Years later I tracked Malcolm down to a residential hospital in London where they were looking after him; he remembered me and liked to talk about his beloved Tiger. Then in 1989 someone tapped me on the shoulder just as I was about to get strapped in to my RS500 at Thruxton. I looked around and saw Malcolm looking at me with the most beautiful warm smile, saying ‘Hello, Brode’. I gave him a hug and told him to wait there for me. I did the race and afterwards there was Malcolm standing where I had left him, saying ‘Brode, you haven’t lost your touch, have you?’.

We had a chat about old times, and his Tiger of course, and later I met him a few times in London, but lost touch with him again. So I am very happy that you have found him. What a lovely guy Malcolm was, and I am glad to say still is. Thanks Doug and Motor Sport for remembering Malcolm Sears, a forgotten hero.

Dave Brodie, by e-mail