Northern Motor Racing Legend David Cox
Graham Read, Formula 1 Correspondent
I spend most of my time reporting on the headline grabbing wonderful world of Formula 1 motor racing, but it is a perhaps a little known fact that over 30,000 drivers hold racing licences within the UK alone and every year there is a full season of race meetings held at our many British circuits.
Over the decades we have had many outstanding drivers who have never reached the heady heights of F1, but who have made their own indelible mark on our British racing scene, and one of the best is Darlington based racing driver David Cox.
David was actually born in Norfolk back in 1948, but after joining the Royal Engineers when 18 years old he was posted to Ripon in 1968 where he met his bubbly and very supportive wife Heather and he never returned south.
This means he has now reached the grand age of 70. However, Coxie, as he is affectionately known within the motorsport world, is a perfect example of how increasing age and unforeseen ill-health, which I’ll come to later, should not stop you pursuing your passions as he is still one very quick and highly accomplished racing driver.
Despite having had to commit so much of his time over many years to become a very successful self-made businessman before his recent retirement he has competed in a whole range of motorsport disciplines for over four decades and counting.
David began his racing career on bikes in the 1970s before moving to four wheels with a grass track car for events which tended to be either very dusty or muddy! In the ‘80s he moved on to rallycross, competing in the UK, Ireland and Holland. A big accident in the Nova Challenge Championship in 1993 made him decide to try rallying instead in the Northern Tarmac Championship with friend Terry Searle as his navigator and to great effect.
After taking part in a rally in Scotland David and Heather called in at the Knockhill circuit north of Edinburgh and saw a Legends race for small motorcycle-engined cars. They were instantly hooked, had soon bought a car of their own and were competing with the Legends as well as rallying.
David subsequently moved on to compete in the Rover Tomcat circuit racing championship before joining the much respected and highly competitive Northern Saloon and Sports Car Championship (NSSCC) run by the long-standing and superbly organised Darlington and District Motor Club, to whom he has remained loyal ever since.
The purchase of an ex-touring car Honda Civic followed and it appeared in both the NSSCC and, partnered by John Parton and then Jerry Hampshire, in Tin Tops events for the Classic Sports Car Club (CSCC).
One of the highlights of David’s career to date followed when they took the Civic to the USA to compete at the famous Daytona circuit, as was competing at the iconic Spa Francorchamps track in the Ardennes region of Belgium. David still owns his favourite racing car, a Peugeot 205 GTI, which he bought back in 2003.
I first met David and Heather at the 2002 Formula 1 Hungarian Grand Prix just outside Budapest and ever since he has very much been a constant reminder that good guys can be winners as well as on occasion the, well, sometimes not so good guys. Their home is littered with many trophies accumulated over the years.
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With all his accumulated experience David has mentored many younger drivers over the years and is already looking forward to embarking on yet another season of motorsport competition in 2019 when his 205 will be raced again with the NSSCC and his new Golf will appear in the CSCC’s New Millennium series. He’s also hoping to fit in a few outings navigating for friend Paul Bird in the BMW Rally Championship.
David clearly has no intention of slowing down on or off track and, perhaps more importantly and as a real lesson to us all, in recent times he has shown amazing courage and determination in fighting prostate cancer and never giving up.
David Cox is a friend, a gentleman and above all a true inspiration to us all.
Northern Motor Racing Legend David Cox, 20th March 2019, 22:29 PM