Sadly just as we closed for press came the news of the death of ex-Benjyman Bill Weeks. Bill was member number 19 and a formidable contender in his day though somewhat erratic.He raced every car he owned at one point or another, all with the same abandon. When not racing, he scorched around the Essex roads in his Speed Six at frightening pace.
Once, on leaving Silverstone in a Healey with almost 200BHP under the bonnet, the Chairman spotted Bill in the Speed Six in front, heading for Buckingham. He gave chase, just to sit behind that glorious sounding exhaust, but when Bill spotted the Healey, he was off and try as we did, we never caught him. Bill more than once tipped his car over, on one occasion ignoring “Road Works” signs until he hit a road digger and threw out his charming and attractive passenger. Both car and passenger were in poor shape and things looked rather unfortunate for a while. He followed this with another off, when he left the road during an Alpine Rally, but made light of the whole affair, the Speed Six seeming to wear its scars like trophies. Bill later used this incident as his excuse to always carry a tin of black Brolac in the toolkit, to paint over the dents and scratches as he went!
On another occasion, he attended a meeting at “The Bishops Finger” in Smithfield, a favourite haunt of those of us in the BDC, who worked in the city in those far off days. When he returned to the Speed Six, he found that some joker had removed his fire extinguisher and placed it under his rear wheel, a fact he discovered only when it exploded as he drove off. The next day, in a cruel twist of fate, the Speed Six caught fire and was severely damaged.
He was a successful Turkey farmer but not so successful in the property business, when a well founded scheme was caught by a collapse in property prices at the wrong time, bringing to a premature end the racing career of a colourful and most likeable companion.