One of Britain’s greatest short circuit racers, Derek Minter, died on Friday, January 2. He was 82 and had been in ill-health for some time. Best known for his prowess on British tracks and known as the original “King of Brands” he was a multiple champion, mostly on Manx Nortons tuned either by Ray Petty or Steve Lancefield.
This was in the late fifties and sixties when he was competing against the likes of Mike Hailwood, Bob McIntyre, John Hartle and John Cooper. But he was also a regular and successful competitor in world championship events in Europe and in the Isle of Man when the TT was a championship event.
In 1960 Minter was the first rider to lap the thirty seven and three quarter mile course at over 100mph on a single cylinder machine in a race won by Surtees with Hailwood third. In 1962, he won the Lightweight 250cc TT on a privately entered Honda beating the works machines. A year later (1963) he was chosen, together with John Hartle, to join a Gilera bid led by Geoff Duke to wrest the world 500cc championship from the MV factory and Hailwood. But an early season crash at Brands Hatch, which also resulted in the death of Dave Downer, ruled him out and his place was taken by Phil Read. He returned to finish third in the Ulster GP and second in the East German GP. He retired in 1967 to run his haulage business from his home in Kent.
Details of his funeral will be published shortly.