OBITUARY: TOM DOOLEY


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Tom Dooley, who sadly passed away recently, was one of the BRSCC’s longest standing and most loyal members and supporters and ensured the Club became a mainstay during his 60+ year tenure in his many roles across that time.

Tom (right) was a constant presence at just about every North Western Centre race event and was always on hand to present drivers with their trophies – Photo: Jon Elsey

Tom’s love affair with motorsport started all the way back in 1945, where the pages of Autocar & Motor magazine helped fuel his interest in what was a fledgling time for the sport in general, especially after the end of the Second World War.

Having desired a Red Label 3 litre Bentley, Tom would sample a Land Rover, a Triumph Dolomite and a Morris Oxford before eventually making his first foray into motorsport in a social rally with his brother. Tom was also one of the first people to be involved with the running of the Oulton Park circuit both before and after first race meeting in 1953. A year later, Tom quickly joined the BRSCC’s new North Western Centre and quickly settled into roles such as Centre Secretary and Competition Secretary. One of the first events he was part of during his role was the Cadwell Park segment of the 1955 RAC Rally amidst incredibly cold and snowy conditions.

Shortly afterwards, alongside then Centre chairman John Ellison, Tom became an integral part in running the North Western Centre’s race meetings until 1975, but after Ellison sadly passed away two years later, Tom stepped back into the fore and took over as the NW Centre chairman. From there on in, with help from the likes of Peter Browning, Peter Harrop, Don Fryer and Ron Moore to name a few, Tom’s leadership of the North Western Centre has been vital in the BRSCC’s ongoing success in this area of the country.

Tom will also be known as the first championship co-ordinator of the Northern segment of the BRSCC’s Formula Ford 1600 championships, a role which has since been taken over by Ian Smith over the last few years. Tom was key in ensuring that the Northern Championship was a mainstay of Oulton Park despite numerous changes in ownership of the circuit.

Right up until his final days as NW Centre chairman, before handing over the reigns to Andy Holley, Tom was committed and dedicated in every sense of the word and always ensure that he was a presence at every meeting the Centre ran at Oulton Park and Anglesey.

Tom remained heavily involved in organising race meetings, making sure everything was in place beforehand, e.g, breakdowns unit, garlands, trophies, headed paper etc. On the day, he would assist his office staff in dealing with practice times, results, grids etc and have awards and winners caps at the podium ready for presentations as well as making sure the drivers got to the podium to be interviewed. Various people also had to be paid on the day and Tom attended to that too.

Alongside his BRSCC duties, Tom also found time to continue competing in motorsport. He took part in the fabled Monte Carlo Rally on five separate occasions along with two Mobil Economy runs and the RAC Rally. Other memorable moments include receiving the Prince Michael of Kent Award in 1996, secretary duties at BTCC meetings at Oulton Park and Knockhill.

Throughout his activities in motorsport, Tom counted on the support and assistance of his fellow officials, along with his faithful and long-standing wife Betty. Tom was also made an honorary Vice-President of the Club recently as a reward and marque of respect to his loyal service to the Club and its activities.

Everyone at the British Racing & Sports Car Club and those closely associated passes on its sincerest and warmest thoughts and condolences to Tom’s immediate family and close friends and colleagues, as well as paying tribute to his unstoppable and dedicated efforts to help further the Club and its activities for more than half a century.