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NOTICE OF DEATH - MICHAEL REID MBE (1928 - 2021)

We regretfully have to report the death of Life Member Michael ‘Mike’ Reid on 26 April at the age of 93. He had been suffering with Parkinson’s Disease for some time.

Much of Mike’s racing career revolved around MGs, so much so that he was a founder member of The Octagon Stable which enjoyed notable success with the products of Abingdon in the 1950s and early ‘60s. Mike’s first race was an MG Car Club team relay event at Silverstone with a MG TC in 1953. Over the next few years first with the TC and then a MGA Mike competed in races, rallies and hillclimbs with 1956 producing a series of strong results particularly at Silverstone on the back of which Mike won the Motor Sport Silverstone Trophy which brought with it a cheque for £50.

Inspired by reading Denis Jenkinson’s account in Motor Sport of winning the 1955 Mille Miglia with Stirling Moss, Mike decided to tackle the famous Italian road race himself in 1957 in his essentially standard MGA, to cover the costs of which the previous season’s cash prize from the magazine made a worthwhile contribution. With fellow MG club racer Jeff Sparrowe as co-driver, Mike drove the MGA across Europe to Brescia for the start of the race. Mike developed ‘flu, the car’s brake drums had become distorted during the drive through France and they had just two spare wheels. There had been no time to familiarise themselves with any part of the route so they were in effect driving the 1000 miles blind. Yet they made it to the finish to be classified 134th of the172 finishers from 310 starters, ninth in the 1500 cc Sports Car class where Porsches predominated.

Shortly before their arrival back in Brescia, Mike and Jeff passed the dreadful aftermath of Alfonso de Portago’s horrific accident which brought about the end of the Mille Miglia. Twenty five years later Mike and Jeff returned to Brescia for the celebration of the event’s Silver Jubilee to find themselves as minor celebrities as the only driver pairing which had competed together in the event originally.

After the Mille Miglia excitement, under the Octagon Stable banner Mike continued racing MGAs, principally in the United Kingdom, until the early ‘60s, achieving amongst other good results second place in his class in the Aston Martin OC’s Martini 100 at Silverstone in 1960. For the 1962 season Mike acquired a 1.0 litre Austin-Healey Sebring Sprite which he and Jeff Sparrowe took to second place in their class in the Nurburgring 1000 Ks. Going solo later in the year Mike finished eighth overall and fourth in class in the Nurburging 500 Ks. At home Mike finished third in class in the Autosport 3 Hour race at Snetterton. The Mille Miglia exploits notwithstanding it was always Mike’s ambition to participate in the Le Mans 24 Hours and he was entered to share a MGA Twin Cam with Ted Lund in the 1962 race but it didn’t happen.

For his last racing season in 1964 Mike finally made the move away from BMC machinery and raced a Ginetta G4 with mixed fortunes.

Mike was managing director of the family company of Reidsteel, structural engineers in Christchurch, Hampshire who were responsible for Silverstone’s first proper scrutineering bay in the 1950s and were regular, full-page advertisers in the BRDC Bulletin for many years. To Morag, and to his sons Peter and Tim, the BRDC offers its most sincere condolences.

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