Obituaries

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British London-Sydney Marathon winner; American sportscar racing pioneer

Colin Malkin

This underappreciated rally star died in January aged 63. The eldest son of a Coventry motor dealer and rally driver, Colin Malkin soon found himself rallying and rallycrossing with Mini Coopers and a Lotus 6. With his ‘Motor City’ connections he was loaned a works Imp for the 1966 Circuit of Ireland, where he won his class and took seventh overall. With his own Imp he finished 10th on the Welsh Rally before tackling the Monte Carlo in ’67 — thanks to a deflating tyre he wrote off the car. He subsequently took to racing with a Lotus 7, winning six times from eight starts.

By ’68 he had a new rally mount: a Sunbeam Californian. The season started with a win; then he completely destroyed the car on the Circuit of Ireland. Rootes stepped in and lent him an Imp for the Scottish, where he finished third overall. The upshot was that he got the Imp for the rest of the year and won all three major British nationals. Things got even better when he went with Andrew Cowan and Brian Coyle on the London-Sydney at the end of that year and won with the unfancied Hillman Hunter.

For 1969 he stayed with Rootes, but in ’70 he had a chance with Ford which put him in an Escort for the World Cup, though a traffic accident put him out and no further drives were forthcoming. Back at what was now Chrysler, his Avenger was never on terms with a BDA Escort. Even so Malkin still took class wins on the TAP, Scottish, Welsh and RAC.

Malkin next teamed up with Cowan at Mercedes, winning the London-Sydney again in ’77. After retiring from driving he worked for Mitsubishi as WRC coordinator right through the 1990s. JDFD

John von Neumann

American sportscar road racing pioneer John von Neumann died in December, aged 82.

A talented driver and motorcyclist, he was an early member of the SCCA and found some success with an MG TD before switching to Porsches. Through his Competition Motors concern, he was a regular winner on the West Coast in 356, Carrera and 550 Spyder models, also fielding a raft of Ferraris: with the exception of Luigi Chinetti, nobody did more to further the Maranello marque Stateside in the ’50s.

Forever downplaying his ability as a driver, von Neumann’s importance in US motorsport lore is more down to his role as a talent scout: he gave drives to numerous future stars, including Phil Hill and Richie Ginther during their rise to prominence. He also funded the latter’s race team after he quit driving. Ginther later married von Neumann’s ex-wife Cleo. Von Neumann had lived in recent years in Switzerland and continued to participate in historic events. RH

Fred Bushell

In Lotus history he will always be remembered as the man who assisted Colin Chapman and others in defrauding British taxpayers out of millions of pounds during the De Lorean scandal.

Bushell first came into contact with the marque in 1954 after walking past a pub, owned by Colin Chapman’s father, which had the embryonic Lotus concern sited behind it. He remained a loyal and close aide to Chapman, helping the firm stay afloat and becoming the company’s chairman following Chapman’s death in December ’82.

Bushell served three years for the De Lorean affair, bearing the brunt of the government’s ire as De Lorean refused to return to the UK to face charges. He was later a director of Classic Team Lotus. RH

Desmond ‘Dizzy’ Addicott

This well-known club racer and flying ace died in December following a road accident. He was 80.

Addicott joined the RAF in 1941 and was later a test pilot for BOAC and Vickers. On starting racing in the mid ’50s, this affable character proved quick in a Lotus 15 with Buick V8 power and an Alfa-engined Elva Mk6 sports-racer, also competing internationally in an Elva 100 FJunior and a DKW 800S in the ETCC. With Paul Emery he created the DART, which served as a basis for the Mini Marcos.

On retiring from racing he used his flying skills in movies such as Mosquito Squadron and gave lessons to synth popster Gary Numan. RH

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