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NOTICE OF DEATH - VINCE WOODMAN (1937-2021)

It is with great regret that we report that Life Member Vince Woodman died on Wednesday 2 June. He had been in poor health ever since suffering a stroke in the BRDC Clubhouse whilst attending the British Grand Prix nine years ago.

Vince was a successful stalwart of the British saloon car racing scene, competing in the British Saloon Car Championship from 1971 through to 1989 during which time he won 12 races outright. The first part of his racing career centred around various Ford models, beginning with a Lotus Cortina at his local circuit, Castle Combe, in 1965 prior to which he had competed in hillclimbs with the Cortina, a Triumph TR3A and a Jaguar E-type. To begin with, racing was a side line for Vince whilst he concentrated on building up his Ford Main Dealership to the extent that by 1970, at the age of 33, he was the youngest Ford Main Dealer in the country.

From 1969 to 1973 Vince raced Broadspeed-prepared Ford Escort Mk 1s with a choice of 1300 cc or 2-litre Cosworth BDA engines. An early BSCC success was victory in the 1300 cc Hilton Transport Services Trophy at Crystal Palace in 1971. Two years later, in 1973, Vince notched up 22 race wins with his Escorts both in the BSCC and elsewhere. It was in 1973 that Vince was elected as a Full Member of the BRDC. When the BSCC introduced Group 1 regulations for the 1974 season, Vince acquired a Chevrolet Camaro Z28 with which he won a championship round at Silverstone against opposition which included fellow Camaro drivers Stuart Graham and Richard Lloyd. The following year Vince won the last three rounds of the series which secured fifth place in the final standings but Stuart and Richard were ahead of him, albeit in the latter’s case by a single point.

From 1976 the Camaros were outlawed from the BSCC by virtue of the RAC introducing a 3-litre capacity limit which was good news for Vince since it enabled him to revert to Ford with the Capri 3000GT. Highlight of the first season in the Esso Uniflo-liveried car was victory in the support race at the British Grand Prix at Brands Hatch. He won again at the beginning of 1977 at Easter Monday Thruxton. Away from the BSCC Vince contested the Spa 24 Hours with Jonathan Buncombe as co-driver. Some 90 cars started the race, held on the old Spa road circuit and an excellent performance by Vince and Jonathan resulted in a third place finish behind the winning Capri II 3.0S of Eddy Joosen/Jean-Claude Andruet and the Peter Brock/Gerry Marshall Vauxhall Magnum. Vince and Jonathan also finished fifth overall and first in Group 1 with the Capri in the RAC Tourist Trophy later in the year. The next couple of seasons brought mixed fortunes with the Capri in the BSCC but highlights included a second place at Thruxton, a third place at Donington and a new lap record at the British Grand Prix meeting at Silverstone.

To keep himself amused and entertain the Castle Combe crowds when not contesting the BSCC, Vince also acquired a Broadspeed-built Capri RS3100 with which he won his class in the BRSCC South West Saloon Car championship. Reliability and therefore results in the BSCC were rather better in 1980, Vince taking two seconds, three thirds and three fourths to finish third in his class in the BSCC whilst a return to the Spa 24 Hours was rewarded with fifth place overall, Vince and Jonathan being joined this time by the late Pete Clarke.

By now the Rover SD1 derivatives were making their presence increasingly felt in touring car racing and the 1982 season saw Vince involved in a great battle for BSCC class honours with Jeff Allam’s Rover 3500S. Both took four race wins and they tied on points but the RAC broke the tie in Jeff’s favour. A move away from Fords occurred in the 1984 Donington 500 round of the European Touring Car Championship when Vince shared a BMW 635CSi with James Weaver to finish second behind the Jaguar XJS of Win Percy/’Chuck Nicholson’ and ahead of a very high quality field including third-placed Hans-Joachim Stuck/Dieter Quester in a similar BMW. Thundersaloons then captured Vince’s interest and he joined forces with John Cleland to campaign first a Vauxhall Senator (a badged Holden Commodore imported from Australia) with which they won the Thundersaloons title in 1986 and then the British-built Vauxhall Carlton with its 5.7 litre Chevrolet engine with which they repeated their success in 1988 by winning seven of the 10 races, and again in 1989.

After the Carlton, the 2-litre Super Tourers were not quite the same and Vince reduced his race driving although he retained the Broadspeed Capri V6 which was fully refurbished and appeared at Castle Combe in 2008 when, with Dan Cox sharing the driving, Vince took an emotional and poignant final victory. Very much a touring car devotee as a driver but keenly interested in all categories of racing, Vince is survived by his wife Caroll, daughter Polly and sons James, Hugh, Daniel and Nicholas to whom the BRDC extends its most sincere condolences.

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