BARRY ASHMAN – A TRIBUTE
Barry standing next to his treasured Austin Healey Frogeye Sprite – Photo: Ian Ashman
Tributes have been coming in for former Midlands Centre Competitions Secretary Barry Ashman, who sadly passed away on Saturday morning.
Barry was born in Birmingham to parents Molly and Ron and spent his early years living in Handsworth and became a West Bromwich Albion fan at an early age. His father Ron, who was a Television Engineer, owned a shop in Birmingham repairing and selling second hand TV’s.
The family then moved to Sutton Coldfield where he went to secondary school. Barry followed his father’s interests of jazz and motorsport and started to race at Oulton Park at the age of 15, obtaining special permission to miss school lessons so he could go testing.
Barry raced in various cars throughout the 60’s, including a Lotus 18. During a race in a Mini at Mallory Park in the mid 60’s, Barry pressed the brake pedal approaching the hairpin and rather than turning right ended up over the barriers landing upside down on perimeter road due to total brake failure. There was no run off or catch fencing in those days!
His adventures in a Mini went further afield as he became navigator for Richard Johnson on several rallies. Johnson himself recalled that “He always remained completely calm and collected when he sat alongside me on a event, even after I managed to spin the Mini at nearly 90 mph on a Welsh rally. I certainly was not calm and collected at the time myself!”
When Barry obtained his driving licence after already having a racing licence, he bought a gold Frogeye Sprite as his first road car. Barry continued to race until he met Rita and soon after could no longer afford to go racing!
Afterwards, he became a Midland Centre committee member as well as taking up roles as Chief Flag Marshal and Rescue Vehicle Captain after Dave Hawnt. Following the death of Ted Smart in July 1992, Barry became Competition Secretary, with assistance from Rita throughout. Other roles included becoming Centre Treasurer from Ron Overend between 1993-1999 until Tony Carwithen accepted the position, as well as a brief spell as Centre Chairman between 2003 – 2005. He has also been Clerk of the Course for many Club meetings over the years, more recently a permanent Clerk for HRDC and Sports 2000. At one stage, he was also a Director of the Club and gave his input into major Club decisions for a number of years.
BRSCC chairman Bernard Cottrell said “Barry will be sorely missed as one of our longest standing Club personnel and his passing is a shock to us all. He was a respected and well-loved member of our team with many friends who will also miss him dearly. His contribution to the BRSCC was selfless and committed and it will be hard to find someone who worked as hard as he did. Our deepest thoughts and condolences go out to Rita, Ian, Lucy and the rest of his family and closest friends at this time.”