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Brands Hatch bike legend Derek Minter passes away

Monday, January 05 2015

Original 'King of Brands' and all-round motorcycle racing legend Derek Minter passed away on Friday (2 January).

Kent-based Minter made his name in the 1950s and '60s, when he became known for his success in British circuit racing, most notably at Brands Hatch. One of his most famous victories at the venue came in 1958, when he defeated motorcycle racing legend John Surtees, previously the man to beat at the Kent circuit.

Minter's relationship with Brands Hatch pre-dated his racing exploits, as he frequently visited as a spectator, following a period of national service with the RAF. It was at this time that he began working for Hallets of Canterbury, the motorcycle dealership that would sponsor many of his early racing exploits, including his first appearances at Brands Hatch.

Minter's diverse achievements include multiple short course wins, a Lightweight Isle of Man TT win, and in 1961 he became the first man to lap the TT course with an average speed over 100mph on a single-cylinder machine.

MSV Chief Executive Jonathan Palmer commented: "Derek Minter is one of motorcycle racing's true legends. At Brands Hatch, a circuit he loved, he was considered almost unbeatable. He was adaptable and adventurous too, showing great courage and skill not only on British circuits, but also in motorcycle Grands Prix and TT road racing. It's fitting that his name lives on at Brands Hatch, on the Derek Minter Straight on the Grand Prix circuit, so that his achievements continue to be remembered."

There will be plenty of opportunities to pay tribute to Minter at Brands Hatch this season with a packed bike racing calendar, details of which will be unveiled here in the coming weeks.