NOTICE OF DEATH - MICHAEL SALMON (1933 - 2016)
With great regret the Club has to report the death of Life Member Michael 'Mike' Salmon who passed away in Jersey last week at the age of 82 after a long illness. Mike Salmon will always be associated with powerful GT and sports-racing cars which he invariably drove with great verve. Born in Switzerland, and living much of his life in Jersey, he began racing in Scotland at Charterhall in 1954 with the Jaguar XK120 which was his parents’ 21st birthday present to him. While working at Jaguar in Coventry, Mike raced and developed the XK120 over the next couple of years before trading it for a C-type (XKC011) which in turn gave way to the ex-works/Ecurie Ecosse D-type XKD504 with which he won both the Autosport 3 Hours at Snetterton and the Martini Trophy at Silverstone in 1961.
For 1962 the D-type was sold to Peter Sutcliffe, making way for the ex-Dick Wilkins Aston Martin DB4GT Zagato with which Mike finished fifth in the Spa 500 Kms in his first overseas race. This so impressed John Wyer that he provided full works support for Mike’s entry at Le Mans a few weeks later. This was to be the first of 13 participations by Mike in the 24 Hours over the next two decades, his best results being fifth overall and first in the over 3-litre Prototype class with Jack Sears in the Maranello Concessionaires Ferrari 330LMB in 1963, and seventh overall with Ray Mallock and the late Simon Phillips in the Viscount Downe Pace Petroleum Nimrod-Aston Martin nearly 20 years later in 1982.
Le Mans was also the scene of a fearsome accident for Mike in 1967 when, in the second hour of the race, the insecure filler cap of his Ford GT40 allowed fuel to escape, the car becoming engulfed in flames on the approach to Mulsanne Corner. Mike brought the car to a halt but not before he had sustained serious burns to his face. Mike recovered in time to be racing again in various GT40s in major sports car events in 1968 after which he retired for a few years before coming back to compete in Aston Martin DP212 in historic racing in 1973, finishing second in the Cussons Trophy before winning it outright the following year. In 1979 Mike won his first ever single-seater race driving an Aston-Martin DBR4/300 in an FIA Historic event at Brands Hatch whilst in 1980 he was once again racing the Ford GT40 which had caught fire on him at Le Mans. Mike’s last race in a contemporary car was at Le Mans in 1984 sharing a Nimrod-Aston Martin with Richard Attwood and John Sheldon which ended when John had a huge accident after tyre failure on the Mulsanne Straight.
A very versatile driver, Mike also competed successfully in the British Saloon Car Championship in the 1960s, initially with a Jaguar 3.8 Mk 2 in which he shared several podiums with Grand Prix drivers Graham Hill and Roy Salvadori in 1963 and subsequently with a Ford Mustang in 1965 in which he won at Snetterton. In his later years Mike continued to race regularly in historic events in various Jaguars, Ferraris and Aston Martins and was always a popular competitor at the Goodwood Revival.
To Mike’s widow Jean, herself a BRDC Member, and to their family and friends the BRDC offers its sincerest condolences. Mike's funeral will be held on Friday 29 January at midday at Trinity Church, Jersey. Family flowers only, donations welcomed to the BRDC Benevolent Fund.