Alan Brown

Alan Brown

Alan Everest Brown was born in Malton, Yorkshire, 20 November 1919. He served under Norman Garrad (the rally driver who would later run the Sunbeam-Talbot works team) during the war. Afterwards, Brown started working for Dennis Bros as their Midlands sales rep, Alan sold trucks through a hauler named Bob Hamblin. A brief boom in truck sales made Bob a considerable profit so in 1949, he agreed to buy a Cooper Mk III for Alan Brown to race. Hamblin paid for the car, Alan bought the engines, a truck and trailer. He started his career by finishing second at Great Auclum, second at Luton Hoo, and third at Blandford. Convinced that he had a future, Alan sold the car to another newcomer, Ken Tyrrell and bought a new Mk IV for 1950. Things did not start well, he crashed at Silverstone, and borrowed a replacement for Monaco but crashed again while leading Heat Two. After that, things picked up and Alan took a win, at the inaugural Brands Hatch Event, three seconds and a number of third places.

During the year he became friends with Jimmy Richmond, a public works and haulage contractor from Nottinghamshire. Jimmy was keen to become involved in racing, but at 22 stones was hardly the ideal shape for Formula 3. Alan Brown convinced Richmond to start racing professionally together in 1951. Eric Brandon, a friend of Brown and John Cooper, agreed to form a two-car team, christened Ecurie Richmond, running Cooper Mk Vs with Norton engines, tuned by Steve Lancefield and Francis Beart. Jimmy Richmond provided a truck to transport the team, and bought two Manx Norton engines. Expenses, prize and start money were to be split three ways. "Ginger" Devlin and Freddie Sirkitt worked as mechanics

Alan Brown in Cooper.jpg (27799 bytes)Ecurie Richmond had a very successful year that included 16 major victories plus 41 other heats wins and podium finishes with Alan winning both the Half-Litre Club's Championship and the Light Car Cup, highlights being the victory in the Luxembourg GP and second to Moss in the prestigious BRDC Gold Star. The team managed to see off the challenge of the new JBS drivers as well as the official Cooper works cars of Bill Whitehouse and Ken Carter.

At the end of 51, some Cooper customers wanted to progress to Formula 2, which seemed set to take over the 1952 World Championship. Grand Prix racing ambitions suddenly seemed within reach and all that was needed was an economically priced, practical F2 car suitable for the private owner. The result was the Cooper-Bristol.

Both Alan Brown and Eric Brandon entered by Ecurie Richmond also enjoyed a good run of success in 1952. The Richmond cars were painted pale metallic green, Brandon's with a red noseband, Brown's pale blue. The Richmond boys set off on a continental tour with the Cooper-Bristols and 500s, and on 18 May the Swiss GP saw Alan Brown finish fifth and score Cooper's first-ever World Championship points. So Cooper's first serious season of Formula 2 racing yielded the marque's first World Championship points.

By 1953, Alan was concentrating on Formula 2 and sports cars with only the occasional Formula 3 outing in the Beart Cooper, but he won at the Goodwood Easter meeting against a class field which included Moss.

Alan at speed in the Ecurie Richmond Cooper Mk V.

Alan Brown 1951.jpg (13053 bytes)

1954, 55 and 56 saw Alan racing in the Tojeiro-Bristol, Ecurie Ecosse D Types and testing the new Vanwall car but at the age of 37 and having recently married he retired from the cockpit.

Alan teamed up with Ken Tyrrell in 1958 to run a pair of Formula 2 Coopers and, for a season, with Paul Emery for a Connaught project followed by a period of managing saloon cars before retiring from racing to concentrate on car dealing.

Alan Brown passed away in January 2004 at the age of 84.

Alan gets it all wrong at Boreham in June '51