It is with sadness that we have to record the death of Rodney Clarke, in the middle of May after a short illness, at the early age of 62. Clarke was the driving force behind the Connaught sports and racing cars that brought a high standard of design and manufacture into the British motor racing scene after the 1939-1945 war. With financial backing from Ken MacAlpine, of the renowned building family, Rodney Clarke brought the Connaught into being originally as a private venture for MacAlpine. It was so successful that a short series of Formula Two and Formula One Connaughts were built for sale and the marque achieved lasting fame when Tony Brooks won the Siracusa GP in Sicily in 1955. Clarke hoped this success would encourage some of the big motor manufacturers we had at the time to provide support for the future of Connaught, which MacAlpine was finding a financial strain. While everyone was full of praise and congratulations for that famous victory their enthusiasm ended there. It was a slightly bitter and resentful man who eventually had to wind up the Connaught concern before it was ruined financially and to watch all his effort to put a British racing car on the International map, go under the hammer at a public auction.
From then on Clarke withdrew entirely from the racing field and concentrated all his effort on business activities in land, property and the motor car retail trade.
A. W. Von der Brecke
We regret to learn of the death at the age of seventy-two of A. W. Von der Brecke, well remembered for his successful appearances at Shelsley Walsh with the Wolseley Moth-engined Becke-Powerplus. He then joined the Riley Company in the early 1930s as Competitions manager and accomplished works racing driver. In later years he was with Esso until his retirement.
The well-known motoring artist Leslie Cresswell died recently. For many years on the staff of The Motor, he had a fine reputation for his sectional drawings of racing cars and their engines, particularly in Pomeroy’s Grand Prix Car volumes.