Members' Paddock
Member No.
Password
  Forgotten your password?

NOTICE OF DEATH - GRAHAM EDEN (1935 - 2023)

It is with great regret that we have to inform Members of the death of Graham Eden at the age of 88. He had been in declining health for some time. Graham became an Associate Member of the BRDC in 1996 although his previous racing career as a driver had included participation in a dozen Formula 1 races in the early 1960s.

A native of the West Midlands, Graham began racing in the 1950s. For the 1959 season he commissioned a sports-racing car from the Handsworth-based Kieft Sports Car Company. It was perhaps not the most propitious time to do so for the Kieft company, which had pioneered the use of the Coventry-Climax FWA fire pump engine in lightweight sports cars a few years earlier, was in the throes of a change of ownership and Graham’s plans to try something different from the ubiquitous Lotus Elevens never came to fruition, and probably would have been derailed anyway by the arrival on the scene of Eric Broadley’s Lola Mk 1. Graham persevered with his Kieft but for the 1960 season made the switch to one of the Len Terry-designed Lotus Type 17s which themselves were not really the answer to the Lola Mk 1 either. Entrusting preparation of his Kieft to Jim Whitehouse at Arden Engineering, Graham started the 1960 season with some good results including second place to John Coundley’s Lister-Jaguar in the Martini 100 at Silverstone, a third place at Goodwood and a couple of fourth places at Snetterton and Silverstone.

Despite the shortcomings of the Kieft by comparison with the Lola and the Lotus Type 17, Graham had been competitive against the best drivers in the popular 1100 cc sports-racing category and so for 1961 he decided to step up to Formula 1, running a Cooper-Climax T51 in the newly-introduced 1500 cc formula with the support of Gerry Ashmore. It was an era when international single-seater racing was either Formula 1 or Formula Junior and race organisers around Europe (and in the UK although they would never admit it) were willing to pay good money to attract competitors to their annual race. Graham’s Cooper was already two years out of date, but he was able to obtain entries in several of the British non-championship Formula 1 races, including an end of season affair at Brands Hatch for UK licence holders only in which he finished fifth. On his only trip overseas Graham finished sixth in the Pau Grand Prix.

For 1962 Graham and Gerry acquired an Emeryson-Climax with which Graham took sixth place in the Lavant Cup for 4-cylinder Formula 1 cars on Easter Monday at Goodwood but that was as good as it ever was. The nadir was a failure to qualify for the Grande Premio di Napoli after a long traipse across Europe to no avail. Graham’s season ended with a couple of races – at Crystal Palace and in the Oulton Park Gold Cup – in Gerry’s Lotus Type 18 but he retired from both.

Graham briefly returned to the tracks for the third round at Snetterton of the Express & Star British Formula 3 Championship in early 1964 with a Brabham BT6 and for the next few years Graham retained the Cooper T51 for occasional outings in formule libre races, principally on the Midlands circuits. In 1969 he acquired one of Derek Bennett’s very competitive Formula 2 Chevron B10s, initially fitted with a Lotus Ford Twin Cam engine which gave way to a Formula 2 Cosworth FVA before the end of the year. Graham also ventured into a couple of rounds of the newly-introduced Guards Formula 5000 Championship. Despite the lack of power by comparison with most of the other cars in the races, Graham was classified eighth at Oulton Park and ninth in the first heat at Snetterton.

The Chevron B10 was retained for 1970, Graham racing just about every weekend and usually finishing first or second in national formule libre events. However, the year was overshadowed by an accident in which Graham was involved on the Club Straight at Silverstone when battling for the lead with the Formula 1 Cooper-BRM T86B of Martin Brain. While lapping two backmarkers, Brain lost control and his car overturned with fatal consequences.

A new Chevron B18C was acquired for the 1971 season with which Graham took a win in a formule libre race at Oulton Park. This was the year when Formula Atlantic was launched in the UK with the Yellow Pages Championship, Graham running his new Chevron in a few early races and achieving a best result of fourth at Brands Hatch. He then decided to retire from the cockpit and hand over driving duties to F3 star Cyd Williams. It was a sound move since Cyd won four races, was second once and third twice, putting championship leader Vern Schuppan under increasing pressure as the season unfolded although Vern held on to take the title.  Still with Graham’s Chevron B17C and occasionally a March 72B, Cyd finished second in the 1972 Championship on the back of eight race wins. More success for Graham’s team followed in 1977 with American driver Tony Rouff winning the Formula 2 section of the ShellSport Group 8 Championship in a 2-litre Ralt RT1, an achievement which was replicated by Mike Wilds the following year.

In the early part of 1978 Derek Bennett had been working away on his Formula 1 project, the B41. However, following his death in a hang-gliding accident in March, the whole project was acquired by Graham who, with sponsorship from Durex, conceived of a scheme to help promising British drivers to gain a taste of, and make an impression in, Formula 1. Graham’s team ran the B41 in the 1979 British Formula 1 championship in what was one of the series most competitive years. However, the B41 was not ‘state of the art’ in the sense that it was not a ground effect machine. Despite this Tiff Needell finished the car’s first race in a very close second place to David Kennedy’s Wolf WR4 at Zolder. Others to drive the car were Ray Mallock, David Leslie and Kim Mather but none could match Tiff’s initial effort.

Graham was a motor racing enthusiast whose business interests in the timber industry allowed him to pursue his passion. He never drove in a world championship Formula 1 race but did start 12 Formula 1 races and go on to race with notable success in highly competitive single-seater events. To his daughters Johanna and Deborah and to his son Michael, the BRDC extends its most sincere condolences.

The Club regrets to report on the death of Hugh Chamberlain, who was elected as a BRDC Member in 1988
The Club regrets to report on the death of Tony Sugden, who was elected as a BRDC Member in 2002.
British Grand Prix to race into its ninth decade with new 10-year agreement
© British Racing Drivers' Club & mso | Copyright | Privacy | Sitemap | Anti Slavery Policy | Home