Ron Flockhart could have won anything if given the chance.” That’s the view of the Scottish driver’s business partner and close friend Hugh Langrishe, who at 96 still has clear memories of the times they spent together. Those 1950s were a time of private enterprise and privateer entries, when you could buy an old racing car and enter it in top-line events against existing stars, and be spotted by team owners. Further, the era of freelance drivers and one-off drives meant a healthy range of opportunities for a driver who showed a bit of spark. And when he had the right equipment Flockhart’s spark was high-voltage: two Le Mans victories don’t come easily. Yet his 13 grand prix starts yielded just one podium. Perhaps his name would be better remembered if he had achieved his parallel aim – to break the solo flight record from Sydney to London. But 58 years ago that would tragically end his life, when his Mustang P51D aircraft plunged into an Australian hillside. He was not yet 40.
Hugh Langrishe, an upright and dapper figure despite his years, has many photos of their adventures and when we met, pre- lockdown, he talks fondly of those times when Flockhart’s star was rising.
Tall, fair-haired and good-looking, Flockhart was born into a well-off family and went to Edinburgh’s prestigious Daniel Stewarts school. Confident and affable, he had the dashing air of a Hawthorn or Collins but was no playboy: with a war career behind him as a Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME) captain, he combined a degree in engineering with an innate feel for machinery and an ability to give good feedback on a car. That made him a useful test driver.