NOTICE OF DEATH - JOHN COUNDLEY 1924 - 2016
The Club regrets to report that John Coundley passed away on New Year’s Day at the age of 91. A property developer from Ringwood in Hampshire, John initially raced motor cycles from 1946 to 1951 before taking part in his first car race at the 1951 Eight Clubs’ Silverstone meeting in a Jaguar SS100. In the early days he also raced a MG Midget R-type at Ibsley, his local circuit. John became more widely known in 1959 with the first of two D-type Jaguars which he owned, the Ronnie Hoare car, which he raced both in the UK and on the Continent. There were also a few Lister-Jaguars, the Costin-type BHL126 being particularly successful in John’s hands including winning the AMOC Martini Trophy at Silverstone in 1960 and 1962. At this time John was commissioned by MGM to provide cars for its motor racing feature film The Green Helmet. When BHL126 was crashed by another driver (also a BRDC Member!) during filming, MGM furnished John with a Camoradi Maserati T61 Birdcage to race at Aintree.
By 1963, with the writing on the wall for front-engined sports cars, John had acquired a Lotus-Climax Type 19 with which amongst other successes he won the 1964 Lavant Cup at Goodwood ahead of rising star Jackie Stewart in the Ecurie Ecosse Cooper Monaco T61-Climax and double (at that time) World Champion Jack Brabham’s Brabham BT8-BRM. Also in 1964 John shared Dick Protheroe’s E-type Jaguar to win the over 3-litre GT class in the Reims 12 Hours and the Montlhery 1000 Ks while, perhaps impressed by his Goodwood victory, Ecurie Ecosse gave John some races in its Tojeiro-Ford V8 which included a victory at Brands Hatch.
Although mainly competing in larger-engined sports cars, John also raced a Lotus Elite in the early 1960s including a Team Elite car shared with Frank Gardner at Le Mans in 1963 when they retired. Two years earlier John had finished fifth in the 1300cc Coppa Inter-Europa 3 hours at Monza, the lone British entry among hordes of Alfas and Abarths.
For 1965 the 19 was replaced by a McLaren Elva-Oldsmobile M1A with which John won the sports car race supporting the British Grand Prix at Silverstone and the Whitsun Trophy at Goodwood ahead of the Ford GT40 of Roy Salvadori who was having his last ever race. Poignantly it was Roy who had seconded John for BRDC Full Membership in 1962, his proposer being a certain James Clark Jnr. John retained the McLaren Elva for 1966 which was his last season.
The BRDC extends its sincere condolences to John’s family. There will be a funeral service at Hinton Park Woodland Burial Ground at 3pm on Tuesday 19 January followed by an interment of the ashes. A reception will then follow at Chewton Glen Hotel in in the Oak End room with light food, tea and drinks. Members are welcome to attend but you are asked to contact Rex Woodgate who will forward your intentions to John's family.