Cliff Davis (1917-1986) by Andrew Eason
From the club magazine

Cliff Davis was born in Shepherds Bush in October 1917. Looking at photographs of Cliff Davis competing in the fifties one could be forgiven for thinking that he came from a 'posh' background - his handlebar moustache, dark glasses and check shirt with sleeves rolled up suggested an upper class type. This, in fact, was not the case. He had a distinctive cockney accent that stayed with him all his life.

Cliffs motoring interest started as early as 1929, acquiring his first motor car, a Morris, at the tender age of twelve. After a spell working, as a motor mechanic he purchased and sold his first American car - a Hudson. His career as an American car dealer had begun!

The war came and Cliff was taken prisoner. He was held in Silesia in Poland. The various tasks he was given to do by his German captors stood him in good stead for the future, learning about diesels and h6w to speak German were just two examples.

Early in 1946 he was demobbed and using his severance pay of 89 to good effect he bought a Singer Le Mans in need of substantial repair. For an outlay of about 20 and a lot of hard work he repaired the car and then sold it for 200. This was the start of greater things to come.

His motor sporting life started in 1950 with the ex-Lionel Leonard pre-war MG Magnette. Cliff raced and sprinted this car for just a couple of years with his first race win coming at a rain soaked Boreham beating some stiff opposition. Then came one of his most famous cars - the Cooper MG registered 'JOY 500'. Again this was an ex-Lionel Leonard car. This was a very pretty Ferrari Barchetta inspired car and is still pretty having recently undergone a rebuild and featured in Classic Car magazine just a short while ago with a polished aluminium body. The MG engine was 1.5 litre. Cliff and the Cooper MG were a formidable combination in the early 50's notching, up class wins all over the national motor racing map time after time.

In 1953 JOY 500 was joined by the Tojeiro Bristol registered LOY 500. It was to be a good' season with both cars he a to take a total of 16 wins and 14 second places good enough to net him the important Brooklands Memorial Trophy for his outstanding achievements. Over the next t three seasons his motor trade business began to grow and left him less time for racing. He had sold the Cooper MG in 1954 but continued with the Bristol for a couple more seasons. He then found he was starting to get beaten. He tried a Lotus but did not really get on with it. 1957 was to be his last season in Sports Cars.

A little later came his involvement with Midgets. Cliff purchased a Dastle from Les Leston. It was fitted with an MG engine with a special crossflow head. Cliff Davis Midget racing career ran for about five years covering just about every venue available at the time. Despite his long and varied racing/rallying involvement he found Midget racing the best. In his own words, "I enjoyed myself racing Midgets more than at any other time. It was a fantastic sport".

His motor trading business continued successfully, mostly dealing in American cars which he rated highly, until the early 80's. In his later years he suffered deteriorating health and sadly he died in 1986 age 68.

The Cliff Davis trophy is no longer contested by the GP Midgets, but here is a list of the winners.

Year Date Circuit Winner
2007 Sunday 21 October Grimley Jason Carnwell
2006 Sunday 4 June Northampton Alan Buckland
2005 - - -
2004 10 July Ringwood Chris Phillips
2003 13 September Arena Joe Bourn
2002 8 September Yarmouth Joe Bourn
2001 2 December Ipswich Joe Bourn
2000     Rob Sayell
1999 - - -
1998 Sunday 11 October Northampton Harry Sayell
1997 Sunday 12 October Northampton Harry Sayell
1996 27 April Birmingham Stuart Haynes
1995 30 July Buxton Harry Sayell
1994 8 May Peterborough Harry Sayell
1993 5 September Buxton Harry Sayell
1992 31 August Northampton Harry Sayell
1991 Saturday 15 June Ringwood David Shreeve
1990 Sunday 1 July Arena Peter Shreeve
1989 Sunday 2 July Arena Basil Craske
1988 Sunday 3 July Arena Basil Craske
1987 Sunday 27 June Ringwood John Lowe