It is with great sadness that we share the news of John Martin’s recent passing. Please read on for a few words of John’s story, by John’s close friend Max Stahl.
Thanks to Max Stahl
“One of the great under-sung heroes of Australian motor racing has passed away at the grand old age of 90 years – there, after many, many years of being fobbed off by the “shy one”, I’ve revealed his age, but with good intentions, of course. And largely because for most of those years we were close mates and confidants. So close, in fact, that I introduced him to the second “love of his life”, Joan with whom he would spend his last 33 years in peace and contentment, save for an unfortunate series of illnesses that plagued him at the end.”
“John Martin was one of those racing “naturals” to whom speed came easily, along with a flair for the mechanical aspects. His racing career began with a self-prepared MG TC, in which he took on and invariably beat, the sports car stars of the day – Col James, Doug Chivas, George Pearse, Paul Meyer, Jim Johnston, et al.”
“Almost unbeatable in the MG, John moved up to a “streamliner”, a Lola 1100, in which he was just as unbeatable, winning hands down everywhere and leaving the lap record at Warwick Farm standing at 1:43.2 for six years, the longest standing of all records.”
“Without being a “social lion”, John was a lively companion on social occasions and a welcome regular at such Sydney motor racing “watering holes” – the Strand in Wentworth Avenue, the Whitehorse at Newtown, the “Horsepower” in Elizabeth St and the ARDC in Leichhardt, along with various workshops, garages and dealerships where the cognoscenti congregated, including his own yard at Neutral Bay, and he could often be found in the Classic car dealership he helped found – British & Continental Motors – in William St.”
“Married in the fifties to Robyn, John fathered two daughters, Sarah and Emma, with whom he stayed very close, despite his separation from Robyn, and introduced them to Joan in 1983.”
“A very special motor racing man. . . .RIP John Martin -Max.”
John will be farewelled on Tuesday, the 8th of November, from the Southern Chapel, Northern Suburbs Crematorium, at 10.00am. Afterwards, attendees are invited to share a celebration of his life at the Sydney Flying Squadron, McDougall St., Kirribilli.