Rod Tanswell
Obituary from Oval Track blog by Richard John Neil

It was very sad to learn of the death of former Superstox and Midget driver Rod Tanswell. Rod was without doubt the first real superstar in the Midgets. Indeed he was one of the innovators of the class and won most of the major trophies in the early years. He was the first Points Champion (1968) and won the following two seasons as well. He was twice National Champion (1969 & 1972), British Champion (1972) and the inaugural European Champion in 1973. Up until the end of the 1972 season Rod raced a Dastle Mk3 but went on to race in the first (an only) front engine Fireball designed by Frank Boyles - the Mk3. Rod won with the Fireball on its' debut in the National Championship at Wimbledon in 1972.

His achievements should not be underestimated as all his titles were won when the formula boasted its biggest driver base through both Spedeworth and the MARC. Rod also did most of the early public relations work for the class in the Spedeweek race programme and Wheelspin magazine under the pen name "The Informer", never giving himself much in the way of self promotion but instead concentrating on others. He also wrote the 'Evolution of Midgets' chapter of the Spedeworth book 'Living With Spede' which provides a superb account of the formative years of the current formula.

Following his retirement from Midget racing at the end of the 1973 season (3rd November at Wimbledon)Rod still supported the Midgets with the occasional presentation of the Rod Tanswell Challenge Trophy which was contested when the cars raced on Spedeworth circuits. He continued to work for Spedeworth and I remember him doing a lot to promote Arlington meetings and also editing Wheelspin.




Tanswell Timeline...


Stock Cars prior to Midget racing



1968 New Formula Stock Car

1972 (October)

1973 (Oxford)