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NOTICE OF DEATH - DAVID MORGAN (1944 - 2018)

We regret to have to report that Life Member David Morgan died on Tuesday, 6 November, after a stroke. He was 74.   

David started his racing career in 1965 with a 1-litre Mini-Cooper before switching to the frenetic world of 1000 cc Formula 3 with a three year old Brabham BT10 in 1967. The following year David was to be seen in the Bowdown Racing Lola T62. Both cars were past their best but David caught the eye as someone with potential but without the financial resources to win races. However, 1970 gave him the opportunity thanks to his friend Edward Reeves with whom he shared a new March 703. As the season progressed David emerged as the best of the F3 March drivers, taking second places at Mallory Park and third place at Brands Hatch against the best of the up and coming young drivers. A week after finishing second to the Lotus 69 of the tough Australian Dave Walker at Mallory, David repeated the result in their heat at Crystal Palace. Notoriously, in the televised final he clashed with James Hunt which led to the latter becoming physically aggressive. The RAC felt constrained to make an example of David and initially banned him for a year although the penalty was reduced on appeal. Many felt at the time that David had been made the undeserving scapegoat for other drivers’ misdemeanors.

Happily for David, with the continuing support of Ed Reeves his career recovered in the best possible way when, at the first round of the 1972 European Formula 2 Championship at Mallory Park, he qualified Ed’s essentially Formula Atlantic Brabham-Ford BT35 second only to Ronnie Peterson’s works March 722 before going on to win the first 50 lap leg ahead of the likes of Niki Lauda, Jody Scheckter, Carlos Reutemann and Peter Gethin. Third place in the second part ensured overall victory for David. After switching to a state of the art Brabham BT38, David won the first leg of the Salzburgring round of the Championship, leaving past and future World Champions in his wake, and was classified third on aggregate. Other good results saw David finish sixth in this ultra-competitive series. His success earned him the top Grovewood Award for 1972, the equivalent of today’s McLaren Autosport BRDC Young Driver of the Year Award.

For 1973 Ed Reeves acquired a Chevron B25 which brought David fourth place in the opening race at Mallory Park but thereafter was rather unreliable and decent results were hard to come by, David ending up a modest 11th in the Championship. Along the way he had a couple of outings in the recalcitrant Texaco Star Lotus 74, a car with which even the great Ronnie Peterson struggled to achieve a worthwhile result.

David’s one opportunity in Formula 1 came in the British Grand Prix at Silverstone in 1975 with the backing of Sidney Miller’s National Organs enterprise but it was inauspicious. Armed with a Matchbox Team Surtees TS16 as team mate to John Watson, David made the best of the equipment until becoming one of several drivers caught out by the almost flooded circuit at Club Corner and ending up in the catch fencing. Apart from some testing for both Surtees and BRM, David raced very little for the next few years after having come within touching distance of achieving what his talent deserved.

Although almost exclusively a single-seater driver throughout his career apart from the early days in his Mini, David did have the chance on a couple of occasions to show what he could in a sports car racing when he was invited by John Lepp to share the latter’s March-Hart 75S in the Nurburgring and Osterreichring rounds of the World Championship for Makes, finishing seventh overall in Germany, where they were joined by Vern Schuppan, and fifth in Austria, winning the 2-litre class on both occasions. In 1980 and 1981 David competed in the British Saloon Car Championship in Mitsubishi Colt GLX and Lancer GSR, his team mate being the late Barrie Williams. The cars were never top of their class (1301 to 1600 cc) but were generally there or thereabouts with two equally matched drivers.

Once he had stopped driving, David ran and/or engineered a number of racing teams from the works Lolas in Formula Ford 1600, Julian Bailey winning the 1982 Formula Ford Festival and the Townsend Thoresen Championship. He oversaw the early days of Johnny Dumfries in Formula 3 and then spent time in South Africa with Wayne Taylor’s team. In 1990 he engineered Eric van der Poele to second place in the Formula 3000 Championship with GA Engineering before moving with the Belgian driver into Formula 1 with the Modena Lamborghini team. He worked with Dale Coyne’s team for several seasons in IndyCars and later in Formula Renault 3.5 for Epsilon Eskaudi where he helped to nurture the considerable talent of Robert Kubica, winner of the championship in 2005.

To David’s family the BRDC extends its most sincere condolences. The funeral will take place on the 21st December at 12:30pm at Randalls Park Crematorium, Randalls Road, Leatherhead, KT22 0AG.

 

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