Michael Salmon 1933-2016

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - News -

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

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