John Salter by Anne Sayell and Richard John Neil

The Grand Prix Midget Club is very saddened to report the death of John Salter after a short illness on 10th April 2006. John was a very versatile racer having won the British Championship in PRI Mini Rods (forerunner of Arena's Group A Hot Rods). He first raced Midgets in 1992 and was the front engine champion with his Mk3 Fireball in 1994 and 1995.

Being someone who could turn his hand to almost anything he started work on a Peugeot powered side engined car in his South Woodford joinery workshop but the chance came up to sell his business and take over a country pub around the same time as he bought the an ex Hillclimb machine which he'd seen in Motoring News. The car had been advertised for weeks on end and John had spotted a real bargain. He bought the car, converted it to Midget specification and debuted it in 1996. The car was christened the Starcraft, a name which was inspired as he was stargazing on one of his regular mountainclimbs.

The Starcraft story featured in both Short Circuit and the Midget Club's magazine. John also wrote a great deal for the latter (just one example of him putting something back into the club), showing more creative talent as a writer, not just with technical material but humorous scribbles as well. He served in different roles on the board of control too having tenures as both treasurer and fixtures secretary.

John's spoof agony-uncle column in the club magazine showed that he had a good sense of humour and he was just as happy to be on the end of some stick himself. We never let him forget his race outing at Chesterton on wet shale using slicks. Also when he tried to go abroad to race but forgot his passport. Other memories include things like his regular curry nights for Club members, being aggravated whilst he slept with his head under a chair for shade in Posterholt and having ice water tipped over him in South Africa whilst reading a newspaper!

As well as winning the front engine class in the points championship John also won the National Championship twice, once at Hednesford in 1996 and again at Buxton in 2003. Motor racing however was only part of what was a very full life - mountaineering, ski-ing, fishing and running successful businesses were just a few of the things that he turned his hand to. A visit to John and his pub was always a must as there was always a warm welcome and generous hospitality there.

His sudden parting at just 51 years of age is a major shock to everyone in the formula. Our thoughts and sympathy go out to his friends and family.