Vintage Racecar is saddened to learn of the passing of one of the founding fathers’ of South African motor sport and British Racing Drivers Club member, Sam Tingle, who died just before Christmas last year.
Although synonymous with South Africa, Tingle was, in fact, born in Manchester, England. His racing career began just after the cessation of the Second World War, when he competed with an old 4.5-liter Bentley in various events arranged and supported by the Sports Car Club, of which he was a founding member.
In 1950, after moving to Rhodesia, he successfully drove a variety of cars—initially MGs, followed by an ERA, and then the ex-Claes Connaught. He was Rhodesian Champion in 1959, 1960, 1961, 1963, and 1964. His association with Doug Serrurier led him to racing LDS cars fitted with Climax, Alfa-Romeo, or Repco engines entering five South African Grand Prix from 1963–1969. His best finish was in 1965 when he finished 13th at East London, in his LDS MkI Alfa-Romeo—some 12 laps behind winner Jimmy Clark.
Tingle and fellow South African driver John Love formed Team Gunston which featured the resplendent orange, burgundy, and gold livery. The team was responsible for giving many an up-and-coming driver a chance to shine on the track. Tingle retired from racing in 1970, after a bad accident at Killarney, near Cape Town, caused by the throttle of his Brabham sticking open. I had the joy of meeting Sam, along with Dave Charlton, and the late Fred Goddard, at the 2001 Goodwood Festival of Speed, where he was running his restored Brabham. After 10 minutes with them, my sides were aching with laughter as they recalled their experiences and “fishermen’s tales.” Among the banter, he told me how privileged he felt being able to race and to be involved in South African motor sport for so long.