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With great regret we have to inform Members that, following a long illness, Jon Fletcher died on 8th May at the age of 84.  He had been a Full Member of the BRDC since 1991 after a long and successful racing career.

From Littleborough in Lancashire, Jon started racing with a self-built Lotus 7 in the early 1960s. In 1965 the first Clubmen’s Formula championship was introduced by the BRSCC in which Jon was a successful competitor, principally on the Northern circuits such as Rufforth, Oulton Park and Cadwell Park. The 7 was replaced by a Cooper T59 former Formula Junior with which Jon followed the trend of the time by installing a Lotus Ford twin cam engine for use in formule libre racing. The Cooper was not the most reliable and, for 1969, Jon acquired a new Formula Ford Merlyn Mk 11A which gave him some decent results, again mainly on the Northern circuits. He always enjoyed recounting the story of how he overtook an aspiring young Brazilian in a similar Merlyn at Oulton Park’s Knickerbrook on one occasion. When double World Champion Emerson Fittipaldi visited the BRDC Clubhouse decades later, he could still recall the encounter and was most complimentary about the way in which Jon had executed the manoeuvre.

At about the same time Jon came by an ex-Chequered Flag Lotus Elan 26R previously raced by the likes of Jackie Stewart and Mike Spence. It was this car which changed the course of Jon’s racing career, more by accident than design. With the advent of the Chevron GTs and Lotus 47s, the Elan became increasingly uncompetitive to the point where, deciding to move it on, Jon could not even obtain an offer of £200.  Then in 1970 the Elan was accepted as eligible for Modified Sports Car racing. The Merlyn was sold and the Elan resurrected.

Now racing further afield although still mainly in the UK, in 1970 Jon won the Northern Modified Sports Car Championship with 16 wins, a number which increased to 25 in 1971 when Jon was runner-up in the STP Modified Sports Car Championship. In 1972 he won the national Mod Sports championship with 28 wins and repeated the feat the following year, albeit with ‘only’ 23 race victories this time. Trying something completely different, Jon ran a troublesome Chevrolet Camaro Z28 in the British Saloon Car Championship in 1974 and shared a Chevron B23 with the late Robin Smith in the Spa 1000 Ks round of the World Sports Car Championship which ended in retirement. Jon put the Camaro to one side and returned to the Elan to win more Modified Sports Car titles in 1976 and 1977 whilst in 1978 he ran it in the Silverstone 6 Hours round of the World Championship of Makes with Barrie Williams as co-driver, retiring with engine problems.

The now highly modified Elan 26R, compared with its early days in 1964, was given one more season in 1979 enabling Jon to win his class in the Modified Sports Car Championship before putting it to one side although he retained it with the declared intention of returning it to its original spec for historic racing. In its place Jon dusted off the Camaro for the Chevrolet Camaro-Ascar Championship in which he finished second in 1980 before taking the title the following year. The Camaro was a regular race winner in Jon’s hands and his 1981 success was followed by fourth place in 1982 and third in 1983.

Time for another change, this time to a Chevron B35-based Lotus Esprit with Ford-Cosworth BDG engine. In 1985 this potent machine brought Jon second place in the Northern GT Challenge and third place in the Transnational GT Championship. After two more years with the ‘Chevron-Esprit’ Jon switched to Porsche 911s, finishing third in class in the 1989 BF Goodrich Production Porsche Championship and third in class in the 1992 Pirelli Porsche Production Porsche Series.

Somehow, with the full support of his devoted wife Carole, Jon found the time through his racing days to be first managing director and then chairman of Carter Bros (Rochdale) Ltd, a company specialising in the manufacture of rubber and plastic internal mixing machinery, whose name was often to be seen prominently displayed on the Elan, the Camaro, the ‘Esprit’ and the Porsches, together with BRDC badges from 1991 of course. Jon was a very proud Member of the Club, regularly visiting the Clubhouse and its predecessor, the Suite, with Carole by his side as she had been throughout his racing days. To their sons, their five grandchildren and two great grandchildren the BRDC extends its deepest condolences at their loss.

Jon's funeral will take place on the 12 June at 12.30pm at Rochdale Crematorium, Bury Road, Rochdale OL11 4DG.  

The Club regrets to report on the death of Neville Hay, who was elected as a BRDC Member in 1993
The Club regrets to report on the death of Alan Minshaw, who was elected as a BRDC Member in 1984
The Club regrets to report on the death of Ray Thackwell who was elected as a BRDC Member in 1957
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