Ralph Stokes, the enthusiastic Monte Carlo competitor, has died at the age of 90. His competition career began on motorcycles in the 1920s, notably with a Brough Superior SS100 which he rode at Shelsley Walsh and elsewhere, to an HRD Black Shadow in 1948. Introduced to the Monte Carlo Rally by John Whalley, he drove in 15 of them, often in quite modest cars, like the Ford Ten tourer on his first attempt in 1936.
He was a keen member of the British Monte Carlo Rally Competitors Club, and it was said that the annual clips on his Rally badges became so long that he had to tuck them into his trousers. A private individual, Stokes was a property developer and an expert bridge who set astonishing Fuel consumption figures, especially with Peugeot cars, once achieving the run from Malvern, where he lived, to Wick in a Lotus Elite on a tankful of fuel. Educated at Bromsgrove School, Ralph married Nancy Burroughs and leaves two daughters and seven grandchildren. He was the typical amateur competitor, in a MCC trials etc, and Ken Wharton tuned his engines.