NOTICE OF DEATH - TOM CLARKE
It is with regret that the Club has to announce the death of Tom Clarke, on 18 January, peacefully at his retirement home in Somerset. Tom was the BRDC’s oldest Member and he passed away shortly before his 104th birthday.
Whilst known for being a ground-breaking member of the 500 movement, having acquired an Iota chassis as the basis of his first special in the early days of the budget formula, Tom actually had a sports car pedigree founded on Le Mans success which he achieved before he became involved in the motorcycle engine grassroots single seaters.
Tom’s first participation at La Sarthe was in 1935 sharing an Aston Martin Ulster with Maurice Falkner when they finished a very creditable eight overall. The result was repeated in 1950 when he drove the pre-war Bentley Corniche TT with Eddie Hall. The following year was less successful when sharing the same car with H Hay, they were not classified.
Tom remained an active member of the 500 scene enjoying rather more success with his second 500 special – CBPII. He competed through until the mid-fifties, including at the 1953 British Grand Prix support race and also at the International Trophy that year and the Daily Express meeting in ’54 too.
Quite when he retired from racing is not known but it seems reasonable to assume it was around 60 years ago, when Tom was in his mid-forties. He went on to have a distinguished career in the civic affairs of his home city of Bristol where he was ultimately Mayor of the city.
Condolences have been sent to Tom’s son, John Clarke, a family cremation on 6 February will be followed by a civic memorial service at The Lord Mayor’s Chapel, College Green, Bristol BS1 5TB at 12 noon followed by a Wake at The Mansion House, Clifton Down, Avon Bristol BS8 3LJ. All Members are welcome.
John reported that Tom retained a keen interest in motor racing until the very end, enjoying Grands Prix on television and the Bulletin well beyond his centenary.