Michael Salmon 1933-2016
Le Mans veteran racer Michael Salmon died on 12 January, aged 82. The Channel Islander began racing while barely out of his teens and only stopped competing in his 70s, when health issues meant that he wasn’t allowed to renew his competition licence.
Michael enjoyed early success in assorted Jaguars, starting with an XK120 which he received as a 21st birthday present. He graduated to C-types and D-types, before acquiring the Aston DB4GT in which he made the first of 13 starts at Le Mans in 1962. He retired from that initial race, but went on to finish in fifth place overall a year later alongside Jack Sears in the Maranello Concessionaires Ferrari 330LMB.
Salmon would go on to race for the UK Ferrari importer – for whom he also worked for many years as a sales manager – in 1965 and ‘66, driving a 250LM and a Dino 206S, only to be badly burned during the 1967 24 Hours, when his JWA Ford GT40 caught fire soon after its first pit stop. He made one more start at Le Mans, again in a GT40, while also showing well in the British Saloon Car Championship, before retiring from motor sport in the late 1960s.
Salmon ‘unretired’ in 1973, competing in historics in Viscount Downe’s Aston Project Car, among others, and returned to Le Mans with the Robin Hamilton team. In the early ’80s, he became a Group C regular in Downe’s privateer Nimrods.
CCW sends condolences to his widow, Jean, a formidable racer herself in period. Richard Heseltine