DON TRUMAN 1922 – 2011
It is with great sadness that the BRSCC has learned that former Club Chairman Don Truman passed away yesterday morning at his home in Sutton Coldfield, aged 89.
Don was a great servant to the BRSCC and only ended 60 years of unbroken service to the Club when he stepped down from the BRSCC Midlands Centre Management Committee at their AGM this April.
A native of Walsall, 25 year old Don joined the BRSCC in 1947, when it was still in its inaugural guise of the 500 Club. Don’s love affair with motor racing started in the pre-war days, when his father took him to Donington to see the ground-breaking Auto Union and Mercedes Benz cars dominate the 1935 and 1936 Grand Prix seasons. Inspired by speed Don, bought a motorbike which he attempted to transform into the ‘fastest projectile in the Midlands’.
The war rudely interrupted Don’s progress and in May 1940 the 18 year-old joined the RAF as an engine fitter on bombers. After a posting to South Africa Don volunteered as a pilot and was due to start flying school when a spot-check medical showed he had‘poor’ eyesight. He would need to satisfy his need for speed elsewhere…
That was Shelsley Walsh hillclimb, where a recently de-mobbed Don rekindled his interest in motor sport as a more than interested spectator. A year later Don, as a new member of the 500 Club, was back at the famous venue behind the wheel of a JAP-engined Marwyn.
However, Formula 3 racing was where Don really made his name, racing against such great contemporaries of this golden era as Les Leston, Bernie Ecclestone and BRSCC Vice President Stirling Moss. In an age where major accidents were all too common Don gradually built a deserved reputation for consistently bringing the car home in the points.
Don finally hung up his helmet in 1959, after 12 years of competition, but this was just the start of his second motor racing career. A year later he was marshalling at BRSCC meetings and then took more of an interest in event organisation. Don rose quickly through the Midland Centre ranks, joining and then chairing the Centre’s committee.
By 1969 Don was national Chairman of the BRSCC and held the post until succeeded by Peter Jopp in 1974. Five years later Don was back in the hot seat for a three-year tenure before handing over the reins to Howard Strawford in 1982. From the early ’60s onwards Don continued to be a Clerk of the Course until finally retiring in 1999.
To mark his 60th anniversary as a BRSCC member in 2007, at the Mallory meeting which carried his name, Don was presented with a commemorative book chronicling his racing life. Being a ‘dyed in the wool’ Midlander, it was entirely appropriate that this celebration of Don’s association with the BRSCC was at Mallory Park, where Don raced a 500cc Cooper Norton during the circuit’s very first meeting back in 1956.
Don was one of a kind and he will be sorely missed by everyone at the BRSCC, especially the Midlands Centre. The Club would like to express their deepest condolences to Don's wife Judith and daughters Fiona & Delia.
There will be a minutes silence at Sunday's Mallory Park meeting in Don's honour.