From the BRDC today:
We regret to have to inform Members that Mike Pendleton died yesterday. He was 90 years of age and had been seriously ill for some time.
Although Mike did not become a Full Member of the BRDC until 1991, his racing career dated back to the late 1950s up to the mid ‘60s. His first race was in a Lotus Mk VI at a Peterborough Motor Club meeting at Silverstone. The Mk VI was replaced by a Lotus Super Seven which in turn was followed by a Lotus-Climax Seventeen with which Mike achieved some good results in club events. Suitably emboldened, for the 1962 season Mike acquired the ex-Mike Anthony Costin Lister BHL130, originally Chevrolet V8-powered before being fitted with a Jaguar engine. The next generation of lightweight sports--racing cars from the likes of Lotus, Lola, Cooper and Elva were now becoming pre-dominant, Mike contesting some 17 events with the big Lister including most of the major British international and national races. Best overall results were fourth places at Snetterton and Castle Combe, on the latter occasion coupled with a class win.
For 1963 Mike stayed with Jaguar power but now in a 3.8 Mk 2 saloon with which he contested most rounds of the British Saloon Car Championship, a bold move considering that the opposition included Grand Prix drivers Graham Hill and Roy Salvadori in similar cars. Mike’s best result came at the start of the year at Oulton Park where he finished fourth on the road behind Graham Hill, Roy Salvadori and Chris McLaren but was elevated to third after Roy’s car was excluded for using oversize wheels. He also had a fourth place at Silverstone’s BRDC International Trophy meeting. Outside the BSCC Mike enjoyed success with the Mk 2, winning at Zandvoort on a rare venture overseas, and at the Maidstone & Mid-Kent Car Club meeting at Silverstone, taking a third place at Oulton Park and fourth places at Aintree and Snetterton.
Part way through the year Mike ended his BSCC campaign and acquired from the UDT Laystall/British Racing Partnership team the 2.5 litre Lotus-Climax Nineteen with which Stirling Moss amongst others had been enjoying considerable success through 1961 and up to the time of his career-ending accident at Goodwood at Easter 1962. At the Oulton Park Gold Cup meeting Mike finished 11th in a race won by Roy Salvadori’s Cooper Monaco T61 followed by a string of Lotus 23Bs. A week later in the Autosport 3 Hours at Snetterton Mike finished seventh and won the over 2-litre sports-racing class in a race won by the year’s F1 World Champion, Jim Clark, in a Lotus 23B from the Ferrari 250GTO of Mike Parkes. At the end of the year Mike arranged an entry for himself in the Nassau Speed Week in the Bahamas where he was up against a galaxy of stars including a Ford V8-powered Nineteen driven by Dan Gurney. Mike retired from both the Governor’s Trophy and the Nassau Trophy.
Mike then sold the Nineteen to Stockport motor-cycle magnate George Pitt who had planned on driving it in the Oulton Park Spring Cup only to be asked whether he could make the car available for Jim Clark to drive since the World Champion’s new Lotus 30 was not yet ready. George loaned the car, Jim won the race and Nineteen #953 went out from its front line career in a blaze of glory. Family and business commitments meant that Mike raced very little after 1963 although he did share John Sparrow’s Jaguar Mk 2 with the owner in a few rounds of the 1964 European Touring Car Championship, winning the class and taking 18th overall in the Nurburgring 6 Hours. Less auspicious was an attempt to race the Marina Rolls-Royce, one of Alan Mann’s less successful projects.
After some eight years in the Royal Marines when he saw service in such hotspots as Malaya, followed by a spell as a ‘speed cop’, Mike joined BRDC Member Ted Whiteaway at The Grosvenor Garage in Worplesdon, Surrey where he was able to deploy his talents as a persuasive salesman. One of Grosvenor’s projects was to build a car for the recently announced Formula Junior of which there were both front and, later, rear-engined versions, both of which Mike raced occasionally. Any thoughts Mike might have had of returning to racing ended when his first wife, Helen, was killed in a car crash two days before Christmas 1970 leaving him with three young daughters to care for. Mike still managed to attend Silverstone occasionally as the guest of Ted Whiteaway and another close friend Roy Pierpoint. Eventually, proposed by Roy and seconded by Warwick Banks, to his great delight Mike became a Full Member of the BRDC in 1991.
To Mike’s wife Andrea and to his three daughters by his marriage to Helen, Tracy, Joey and Emily and to his grandchildren the BRDC extends its deepest condolences.
Mike's Lister-Jaguar used to reside in a local garage showroom outside Guildford, and as an eager teenager I used to cycle up there, press my nose to the window and gawp at it, admiringly. I once told him that and he thought it was hilarious that it should have proved so influential a factor in leading me so definitively astray. A really friendly and cheery man. May I add my sincere condolences for his loss to his family and many friends...