THE WORLD of vintage and historic motoring was shocked by the sudden death at 43 of Anthony Mayman. He was the leading driver in that category and an outstanding personality, universally popular, modest and extraordinarily generous. An active and valuable member of the executive of the Vintage Sports Car Club and the ERA Club, he held the most prestigious trophies of those clubs amongst his enormous collection.
Mayman, an only son, was educated at Solihull School before joining his family engineering company in Birmingham, where he became the chairman and managing director. An aunt, Pauline Mayman, was a successful rally driver and Anthony ran in several hill-climbs with modest sports cars. In the early 1980s a close friend, Bruce Halford, who had been an international grand-prix driver, became the most successful competitor in vintage events with an ex-Formula Two Lotus Sixteen. When Halford retired from active racing he sold the Lotus Sixteen to Mayman but continued to promote that car and taught Mayman to drive it. As a newcomer, Mayman went almost immediately to the fore, driving the Lotus and the famous ex-Raymond Mays ERA R4D, a notoriously difficult and unforgiving car, he went on to win races and break records on all the principal circuits and hill-climbs.
Tall and slim, married to a very supportive wife, Clare, with three children, Mayman dominated vintage motor racing, acquiring a fine stable of the fastest cars. All these were meticulously prepared by Jim Fitzgerald, a top mechanic. Mayman took his motor racing very seriously but always regarded it as a sport, not business. His rivals were his friends. He strictly obeyed the traditional rule that 'the driver who first reaches the cut-off point of a corner has that corner unhindered' and that it is 'not done' to protest in vintage events. His generosity in lending his cars to other drivers became proverbial.
Talking to me a few days ago, he spoke of having a little bit of a sabbatical, competing in fewer events so that he could devote more time to his wife and family. He nevertheless found more speed in his ERA R4D on test at Silverstone and planned to race that car at the forthcoming Vintage Silverstone, in April. He also planned to race at the Prescott and Shelsley Walsh hill-climbs because he was sure he would be able to push up his records quite substantially so that no one could take them from him for some years. After a very short illness, however, he died at his home in the early hours of Wednesday.
Trying to find anything to ease the pain of Anthony Mayman's tragic death, I believe that his short but meteoric racing career will be remembered as an example of courage, skill and generosity. We have lost a brilliant driver and a fine sportsman.
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