THE LATE R. J. B. SEAMAN
THE , death of Richard John Beattie Seaman as the result of an accident
during the Belgian Grand Prix has robbed Great Britain of her premier driver, while the whole motoring community still feels a sense of loss in the passing of so modest and gallant a sportsman. Dick Seaman was a member of the committee of the British Racing Drivers Club, and in 1038 was awarded a special Gold Star for his feat in winning the german Grand Prix with a Mercedes. This was the first occasion since 1929, the
year in which the Gold Stars were instituted, that a Star had been awarded for an individual feat. Seaman never won one of the regular Road or Track Stars, in spite of his many successes, though he only just missed winning the Road Star in 1936, when he
won six races. Possibly this was because he seldom took part in Brooklands meetings, where so many valuable points may be amassed. Seaman’s love was always for road racing. He began his career in 1933 with a 2-litre Bugatti, while still at Cambridge, and in the following year joined in partnership with Whitney Straight, then also a Cambridge undergraduate. Another member of the team was the famous Hugh Hamilton, who was killed in the
Swiss Grand Prix when he was bidding fair to become one of Britain’s finest drivers. With an M.G. Magnette, later raced by R. E. Tongue, Seaman won the Prix de
Berne, the 1+-litre race which precedes the Swiss Grand Prix, and was third in the Coppa Acerb° in Italy. When Whitney Straight’s equipe was disbanded, Seaman bought an E.R.A., and was actually one of the first private owners of this make. He was one of the four drivers who went over to the Eifel
races in 1935 for the triumphant debut of the E.R.A., Raymond Mays was the winner, and Seaman came in fourth. Seaman soon set up his own tuning shop, aided by G. Ramponi, the Italian, and his preparation of his E.R.A., was so good that he won the Prix de Berne again, and also the Coppa Acerbo and the Masaryk Grand Prix. He also showed some talent as a hill-climb driver by making second fastest time in the Grossglockner Hill Climb. He was only
fractionally slower than Hans Stuck, who broke the record for the hill, and, with a faster time than many of the Grand Prix cars, won his class easily. Then he acquired one of the famous straight-eight Grand Prix Delages, which in their heyday had been almost invincible Seaman and Ramponi set to work to modernise the car, and in 1936 decended upon the up-to-date li-litre cars, and massacred them. Victory after victory fell to Seaman—in three weeks lie won the Prix de Berne (for the third successive
In a Club like the B.R.D.C., individuals are not always able to maintain as close personal contact as they would wish. And for this reason, I have always felt that the need exists for some well established medium to which Members may turn for intimate news Of their friends’ activities, both racing and social.
“Motor Sport,” which has done good work for the greatest of all sports over a number of years is obviously well fitted to serve as this medium and today begins an association which I hope and believe will be long and harmonious. (Signed)
year), the Coppa Acerb°, and the 200 miles Race at Donington. He also won the R. A.C. 1i-litre race in the Isle of Man with the Delage, and with a Maserati won the British Empire Trophy. Pinally, he shared the victory in the Donington Grand Prix in 1936 with Hans Ruesch in the latter’s Alfa-Romeo. After this amazing record it VI fiS small wonder that the foreign Grand Prix teams should begin to take notice, for drivers of Dick Seaman’s calibre have never grown on bushes. Mercedes-Benz invited the
British driver to join their team for 1937. Some have criticised Seaman for thus driving a foreign car, just as the late Sir Henry Birkin and others have been criticised. But Seaman, and indeed the other drivers so criticised, always made it clear that if there were an opportunity to drive a British Grand Prix car, they would be the first to avail themselves of it.
After joining Mercedes Seaman had one or two minor crashes in practice, as was only to be expected with the formidable 6-litre formula cars, to which he was unaccustomed. But he soon settled down, and was seventh in the Tripoli Grand Prix and fifth in the Avus races, the two fastest events in the world. In that year, 1937, the Mercedes team was split up for the Belgian Grand Prix and the Vanderbilt Cup in the occurring on adjacent dates. Seaman went to
America with Caracciola, and finished second at the Roosevelt Field to Bernd Rosemeyer, at the peak of his meteoric career.
Seaman had a remarkable escape in the German Grand Prix on his return to Europe, when on the long straight at the Nfirburg Ring he was involved in the tragic accident in which von Delius lost his life. Seaman, on the other hand, was scarcely hurt. It was the luck of the game.
In 1938 Seaman was well pleased by the new 3-litre formula cars, low and squat, like the Delage, and with immensely fast revving engines. Almost at his first opportunity, he rose to the greatest heights, winning the German Grand Prix in faultless style. ” As God Save the King” echoed over the Niirburg Ring, we were proud of Richard Seaman, and our thoughts went back to the only other Englishman ever to have won a classic Grand Prix race, the late Sir Henry Segrave.
Seaman followed this success by a second place in the Swiss Grand Prix, on his favourite circuit at Berne, where he also made the fastest lap. Finally he was third in the Donington Grand Prix, and might have won had it not been for that skid on the patch of oil. He was runnerup to Caracciola for the European Championship last year.
In 1939 the Belgian Grand Prix was practically his first race, and he was leading at the time of the accident, which was caused by the slippery state of the road owing to a deluge of rain. As one looks forward to the races to come, it is sad to think that Dick Seaman will not be there. He was only 26 years of age, and in his short career had won not only fame but a host of friends. He will be
It is with the greatest regret that we have to record the death of C. Penn Hughes as a result of an aeroplane accident. He had been a Member of the Club for a number of years and to his wife and parents we extend our sincere condolences.
The Hon. Peter Aitken, with 57 marks, still retains his lead for the B.M.R.O.A. Bonus Awards. Details :Hon. Peter Aitken 57; R. Parnell 48; H. L. Brooke 47; K. D. Evans 44; I. H. Nickols 43; P. Maclure 41; A. C. Dobson 88; F. R. Gerard 38; W. E. Wilkinson 83; R. E. Ansell 82; R. Hanson 31; H. L. Hadley 80; N. G. Wilson 28; G. E. Abecassis 26.
With the cancellation of the J .C.C. 200 and B.R.D.C. September Meeting there remains only seven events ranking for marking. They are :
Aug. 7th. B.A.R.C. Bank Holiday Meeting. PS 26th. R. R. C. Imperial Trophy
Sept. 2nd. Tourist Trophy Race.
9th. Shelsley Walsh Hill Climb. 30th. Donington Grand Prix.
Oct. 7th. R.R.C. London Grand Prix. 14th. Brooklands Autumn Meeting.
Arising out of W. E. Wilkinson’s successful appeal against a decision of the Stewards of the recent Shelsley Walsh Meeting wherein he received the assistance of the B.R.D.C., Members are reminded that the Club is always willing to advise
or help on any points dealing with Competition Law. In any such cases, however, it is important that full details are communicated to the Club with the least possible delay.
STAR AND BONUS MARKINGS
J. P. Wakefield’s convincing win at Albi and second in the A.C.F. Cup following upon his successes at Naples and Peronne have given him a commanding lead for the Gold Star.
He now has 41 points to his credit as compared with he 20 of his nearest rivalthe Hon. Peter Aitken. Other scores are :-A. C. Dobson 19; H. L. Hadley 16; R. Mays 16; R. E. Tongue 14; A. P. R. Rolt 11 ; A. B. Hyde 8 ; K. D. Evams 7 ; R. Hanson 5; and I. H. Nickols 5.
For the Track Star, two driversI. F. Connell and C. G. H. Dunhamshare the lead with 12 points each. Next in order are F. R. Gerard with 8 points and H. J. Aldington with 6.
At a recent Meeting of the Committee, the following were full Members :
H. L. Hadley. G. B. Sumner. R M. Cowell.
A MEMORIAL TO THE LATE R. J. B. SEAMAN
The Committee of the British Racing Drivers’ Club have decided to erect a Memorial to the late R. J. B. Seaman. The proposed Memorial will be in the form of a bronze tablet which will be erected at Brooklands, and will be similiar to the one in memory of the late Sir Henry Birkin, Bart.
A Fund has now been opened to which Seaman’s many former friends and fellow Members of the B.R.D.C., are invited to contribute. Three Trustees are being appointed to administer the Fund one of whom is our President, the Rt. Hon. Earl Howe, P.C., C.B.E., V.D., as representing the Club.
” B. Bira,” who was responsible for the very fine Memorial at Donington to the late Pat Fairfield, has been invited to design and execute the bronze tablet. Donations should be sent to : The Secretary, The British Racing Drivers’ Club, 12, Queen’s Gate Terrace, London, S.W.7. Cheques should be made payable to the Seaman Memorial Fund and crossed “Midland Bank, Ltd.,”