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It is with enormous sadness that we have to notify Members of the death of Natalie Goodwin who passed away unexpectedly yesterday after a short illness.

Although Natalie did not become a Full Member of the BRDC until 1994, when the Club’s attitude towards female members caught up with the times, her racing days were in the 1960s. Initially she had seemed destined to become a professional concert pianist until losing the tip of a finger in a shop door. A visit to the British Grand Prix at Silverstone in the early ‘60s piqued her interest in motor racing and she acquired the first of two Lotus Sevens, the second of which was one of the ultra-rare 7/20s which incorporated Formula Junior Lotus 20 suspension. Painted in what became her trademark shade of orange, the 7/20 brought Natalie considerable success on the North and Midlands circuits. Always an entertaining raconteuse regarding her racing days, Natalie used to recount how, in her very first race which had a Le Mans-style run-and-jump start, she inadvertently selected reverse and clattered backwards into the Silverstone pit wall. Natalie also competed in her road cars – a Marcos-Volvo and an Austin-Healey 3000.

Natalie’s brother Hugh Goodwin had been running a Formula 3 Brabham BT9 for John Cardwell with some success in 1964 and for the following year Hugh and Natalie pooled their resources to launch Goodwin Racing with new F3 Brabham BT15s, for John, Dave Rees and Natalie herself. The team split its time between British and European races, competing somewhere just about every weekend from March to October on circuits as diverse as Monza, Pau, Chimay, Rouen, Reims and Barcelona (Montjuic). Natalie’s best result was third place in a heat on the streets of Caserta behind Charlie Crichton-Stuart and Bernhard Baur but she was out of luck in the final. On the fearsomely fast roads of Chimay, where barbed wire lined the roadside, Natalie was seventh in a race won by John Cardwell’s sister car. Dave Rees finished ninth to make this one of Goodwin Racing’s most successful events. Later in the year Natalie was seventh at the somewhat rudimentary ‘60s version of Magny Cours.

1966 began with Goodwin Racing invited to participate in the Formula 3 Argentine Temporada with John Cardwell as driver after which John was offered a place with Ron Harris Team Lotus and so ‘Charlie Stu’ joined Natalie in a pair of new Brabham BT18s for another mixed season of British and European F3 races. It was more of the same in 1967 which again began in Argentina but this time with Natalie invited to participate as a driver with the late Alan Rollinson as team mate in a joint effort with Frank Lythgoe. In the main European season, with the BT18s replaced by new BT21s, Natalie won the F3 class at the Cote de la Semois hillclimb in Belgium, finished third at Montlhery, fourth in her heat and fifth in the final at La Chartre. She also had the chance to drive a Lotus Cortina in the Spa 24 Hours with Cyd Williams. They were the only British drivers to finish but were too far behind to be classified.

Previously a saloon car racer, Cyd joined Natalie’s F3 team for 1968 and was almost immediately winning races with the year-old BT21. At the end of the year Cyd finished third in the Lombank British Formula 3 Championship behind Tim Schenken and Tony Lanfranchi. For her part Natalie was fourth twice at the Danish Jyllandsring and sixth at Chimay while she also finished in the top 10 twice at Montlhery. 1969 was Natalie’s last season and included one of her most outstanding races. On the straights of Reims, F3 had become a festival of slipstreaming. After over 53 minutes of racing, the first 14 cars took the chequered flag separated by three seconds with Natalie ninth, 1.6 seconds behind the winner, Peter de Merrit.

After retiring from racing Natalie became heavily involved in the battle to preserve the wild animals of East Africa and this interest in animals led to her training police dogs. She did not neglect her talents as a musician, becoming a member of a jazz band which performed regularly at Liverpool’s Cavern Club amongst other venues. Natalie retained her link with motor racing as a founder member of the British Women Racing Drivers’ Club in 1964, of which she became both Vice Chair and latterly a Vice-President. Her racing exploits earned her the BWRDC championship in 1964, ’65 and ’66. Natalie presented three silver trophies to the BWRDC which are awarded to the most successful racing members annually. These trophies, known collectively as the Goodwin Trophies, will ensure that Natalie’s name will never be forgotten. She was a lovely person who will be very much missed. The BRDC extends its deepest condolences to her son Henry, her cousin BRDC Full Member Nick Cussons and his son Ben Cussons and to her many friends among the Membership. There will be a private family funeral in the coming days.  A celebration of Natalie's life has been arranged by her son Henry for 1.00pm on Saturday 21 September at the family home in Cheshire.  All BRDC Members who knew Natalie and wish to come are invited.  Please contact the BRDC office for the address and so we can pass on numbers to Natalie's family.

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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