Obituaries

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Len Thompson

At the age of 64, Len was enjoying racing his superb Lagonda Rapier. Recognised as a marque expert, he built his 1500cc supercharged single-seater and oompeted in it with a lot of success in VSCC events.

Having recently retired, he was able to spend more time on his racing car and helping others race Rapiers — he was always happy to give others the benefit of his experience. His competition career spanned four decades and his standing within the sport was demonstrated at his funeral, which featured a cavalcade of Lagonda Rapiers.

Motor Sport sends its sincerest condolences to his family and many friends.

Rodger Ward

This two-time Indy 500 winner —1959 and ’62 died in California on July 5. He was 83, and had been ill for some time.

Ward enjoyed an astonishing run of six top-four finishes at Indy with the Leader Card outfit from 1959-64, and he narrowly missed two more wins due to a stall during his last pitstop in ’60 and a fuel consumption miscalculation in ’64. He took two USAC national titles and won 26 races before retiring in 1966, at the age of 45.

A former USAF fighter pilot, he made his name in Midgets just after WWII, and found early success in stock cars. He raced a Kurtis-Kraft in the 1959 US GP at Sebring, and his testing of an F1
Cooper at The Brickyard in 1960 kickstarted the rear-engined revolution there. He also drove Reg Pamell’s Lotus-BRM at Watkins Glen four years later.

Ward was widely regarded as a fine ambassador for motorsport. Ralph Moody

Ralph Moody

One half of the famous Holman-Moody racing empire died recently in North Carolina, aged 86. Ralph’s expertise was a major factor in NASCAR’s growth during the 1960s.

Moody was initially a racer, winning four NASCAR races in 1956, before starting a partnership with John Holman.

Between 1958 and ’71, Holman-Moody Racing won 96 NASCAR races and two titles, in 1968 and ’69.

Ford also drew on the company’s skills for its Le Mans campaigns of the mid-1960s.

Jan Arthur Iversen

This Norwegian driver who died recently at the age of 72, was best known for his exploits in the field of rallycross, having continued to compete at European level until the final years of his life. He was a regular contestant in the Brands Hatch European Rallycross Grand Prix.

However, Iversen had also raced in other areas, including motorbikes and powerboats. But perhaps his most notable success was a victory in the 1957 Finnish Grand Prix for sportscars, when he finished in front of Sweden’s Jo Bonnier.

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