Sunday 16th February 1930
Born on this day, Jack Sears, British former race and rally driver, and one of the principal organisers of the 1968 London-Sydney Marathon. Popularly known as “Gentleman Jack”, he won the inaugural British Saloon Car Championship in 1958, driving an Austin Westminster.
He won the inaugural British Saloon Car Championship in 1958, driving an Austin Westminster. After finishing on joint maximum points with Tommy Sopwith, it was initially suggested the champion would be decided by the toss of a coin. The idea was very unpopular with both drivers and at the final meeting at Brands Hatch, with a draw being a likely possibility, two identical looking Marcus Chambers-owned Riley One-Point-Five works rally cars were brought along for a five lap shoot-out. To make the race fair, they raced five laps, switched cars, then raced five laps again with the driver who had the quickest combined time being crowned champion. In pouring rain, Sears became the first ever champion by 1.6 seconds
He regained the title in 1963, driving a variety of cars including a Ford Cortina GT, a seven litre Ford Galaxie and a Lotus Cortina, which was used for the final two races. Sears also co-drove a Ferrari 330 LMB with Mike Salmon to a fifth place in the 1963 Le Mans 24 Hours, the best result in the abbreviated racing history of the LMB. He died on 7 August 2016, aged 86.