IN MEMORY OF JACK SEARS (1930-2016)

Alan Mann's favourite story about Jack Sears was about Le Mans 1965. Jack was driving one of two Daytona Coupe Cobras being run by Alan Mann Racing, as part of the wider Ford effort which included early GT40s. A faulty batch of cylinder head studs caused problems for all the Ford entries, and one by one they retired from the race. Eventually, the car Jack was driving with the American dentist Dr. Dick Thompson was the last Ford in the race. Their car had not been immune from incident though, having had two separate accidents and a broken oil pickup. This last problem was causing oil pressure to drop dramatically during cornering, so Jack brought the car into the pits, with the intention to retire from the race. However, my father was conscious of the possible headline 'no Fords finish at Le Mans' and was determined to keep the car out there if possible.

There was apparently a tricky conversation in the pits, Jack saying the car was undriveable, and Alan saying he must drive it...

And drive it he did, to an 8th place finish overall and winning the GT class (plus saving Ford an embarrassing headline). My father's opinion was that it was the most professional  piece of race driving he ever saw, when Jack could have blown the engine at any time, but instead kept delicately balancing the oil pressure by keeping cornering, braking and acceleration forces to a minimum, a tricky feat in a race! But he brought the battered car home, and my father was eternally grateful and impressed. He commissioned a painting of the car with its mangled front end and gave it to Jack, who hung in his house as a memento.

Alan and Jack remained fast friends thereafter, and Jack gave a moving tribute at Alan's funeral. 

It's very sad to hear news of his death, and he will be greatly missed, surely one of the nicest men in motor racing. Many condolences to his family.