NOTICE OF DEATH - PETER RILEY (1930 - 2016)
The Club regrets to report that Life Member Peter Riley, pictured above marrying Ann Riley (nee Wisdom), passed away on 7 July at the age of 85. Although Peter was only elected to the BRDC in 1985, his front line competition career began many and was almost immediately successful, Peter winning his class in the following year’s Liege-Rome-Liege Rally with Bill Lamb. After a couple of years working overseas, Peter returned to racing in the UK with a succession of Lotus, beginning with a MG-powered Mk VI followed by a Mk XI and an Elite. With the Eleven Peter ventured into Europe and achieved some good class placings at Clermont-Ferrand, Kristianstad and Roskilde. However, it was with Bill Frost’s Elite WUU 2, together with co-driver Peter Lumsden, that Peter came to prominence, taking class wins in the Nurburgring 1000 Ks in 1959 and 1961 and finishing eighth overall, first in the 1500 cc class, runner up in the inaugural Index of Thermal Efficiency and fifth in the Index of Performance in the 1959 Le Mans 24 Hours.
Peter was also in demand for rallying and became in turn a factory driver for Ford, BMC, Sunbeam (Rootes) and, for the Tour de France, Jaguar. In a Ford Zephyr Six Peter was classified as a finisher in the last proper Mille Miglia in 1957 following a non-stop drive lasting over 14 hours. Two years later he raised eyebrows by finishing third in the Tulip Rally in a Zephyr Six drawn from Ford’s press fleet. Also in 1959 Peter gave the Austin-Healey 3000 its first international success by winning his class in the Liege-Rome-Liege which he followed up the following year with third place overall and a class win in the arduous Acropolis Rally. After a spell with Rootes driving the Sunbeam Tiger, Peter retired to start a family and to concentrate on their horse and subsequently cattle rearing business with his wife, the late Ann Riley (formerly Wisdom), who passed away last October. However, he did not completely withdraw from motor sport and for many years continued to participate in club events with an Austin-Healey 3000 and an Aston Martin DB2/4.
Peter and Ann had two children Tim and Jenny to whom the BRDC extends its sincere condolences. Peter’s funeral took place on 20 July.