Charles David Headland was born in Boston, Lincolnshire in 1910, the son of a street cleaner. Charlie went on to make his fortune in the motor trade in Birmingham throughout the 1940’s and 50’s. From the very beginning, he had the constant support and backing of his wife, Ivy Headland who sadly died in 1964 at the young age of 54. Between them, they built a variety of businesses including property. Charlie became a prolific competitor, racing almost every weekend in the '51 to '54 period. He was extremely competitive, Charlie Cooper once said that Charlie Headland either won or he went off, a view backed up by contemporary reports in Iota. He was a man who had to win, becoming a top road race cyclist in the early 30’s.
Charlie started in a Marwyn-JAP in the later part of 1949 and, unsurprisingly, we have only a couple of DNFs, plus a roll in practice at Rhydymwyn, on record for this car which was quickly replaced by Spike Rhiando's Cooper Mk II for 1950. A respectable season followed with occasional podiums, including at Zandvoort in June, and a pair of seconds to Joe Fry at Lulsgate in April and Croft in September to Alan Rogers in his Cooper Mk IV,
Headland upgraded again at the end of the season to a new a Cooper Mk V and things started well with a win at Ards in April but the rest of the year proved mixed, FTD at Prescott and a win at Croft but plenty of DNFs including the prestigious Grand Prix and Commander Yorke meetings. By October 1951, he had acquired one of the first Kieft CK51's although it seems he kept the Cooper until the end of the year. The result was a win against top opposition at Castle Combe in October and at Peplow and fifth overall in the Autosport National Championship.
1952 proved a very mixed year for Charlie, some fine performances gave him the lead the Autosport National Championship during the early part of the year. He won at Ards in March '52, beat Don Parker at Ibsley in April but things went badly wrong at Beveridge Park Kirkcaldy on the 26th.
He finished second to Don at Snetterton at the end of May then took two wins at Silverstone in June and a third in the 100 Mile race, unusually aboard a factory Arnott but the end of the year brought a series of non finishes. In all, we have twenty five appearances for the year.
For the early part of '53 he continued with the Kieft, finishing second to Ken Tyrrell at Kirkcaldy in April and second at Silverstone on the 16th May, Peter Collins spoke of a race against Charlie as “one of the greatest Formula 3 races I ever had”. (source - Mon Ami Mate).
By mid '53, he had moved to a Martin, which he modified and is sometimes referred to as the Martin-Headland. The Martin brought him a win at Silverstone in June and a handicap win at Cadwell Park in September plus a second at Silverstone in October and numerous placings. At the Easter 1954 Brands Hatch meeting, he finished third in the Open Challenge Final to Lewis Evans and Tyrrell, a win at Kirkcaldy and three wins at Silverstone.
1955 began with a win at Oulton Park in April, still in the Martin, but went badly wrong at Silverstone on 7th May in the International 50 Mile Race. Charlie wasn't the lightest and to compensate, a lot of the car was drilled for lightness, including the brake pedal, which broke at Copse. The car overturned breaking both of his legs, putting him in hospital for six months. This event proved to be the end of Charlie’s racing career. After Ivy's death, Charlie sold off most of his business interests. He later remarried to Barbara and moved to Jersey.
Charlie's known results:
Cooper Mk II
Cooper Mk V