Of all the characters in off-track motorsport, none was more splendidly eccentric than twice RAC British Hillclimb champion Sir Nicholas Williamson, who died on New Year’s Eve, aged 63.
The dashing Baronet the honour bestowed upon his family in 1647was fearless in battle. ‘Sir Nick’ won his titles in 1970 and ’72, following an impressive three-year apprenticeship with a Brabham BT21. The first to unleash a Formula 5000 car ‘up the garden paths’ at the end of ’69, Nick’s McLaren MI won at Prescott and Harewood out of the box. Five wins secured the coveted crown the following season,
But he duly bucked the V8 trend, returning to F2-based cars, and topped the pile again with a 2-litre BDA-powered March 712S despite rolling it mid-season at Bouley Bay.
With an F1 Cosworth DFV transplanted into the chassis (by Lyncar’s Martin Slater) he scored a debut win in ’73. This led to an influx of redundant grand prix cars. Like his first win in ’68, his last came at Bouley in ’76, driving a March 741.
Asked what he did for a living, Nick once memorably replied, “Not very much at all, actually.” But the tweedjacketed nobleman enjoyed life to the full. Despite declining health, he remained omnipresent at Wiscombe Park, the Devon venue co-owned by his uncle, Major Charles Lambton. MP
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