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APRIL 27, 2005

John Love

Former Grand Prix driver John Love has died at the age 80. Born in Bulawayo in Southern Rhodesia just after it became a self-governing colony of Britain, Love fought in World War II and in the 1950s began racing bikes and was one of a group of fairly wild racers which included his business partner Jim Redman, who went on to become a multiple champion in motorcycle racing.

After Redman went to Europe, Love turned to racing cars initially a pre-war Riley Special sports car, after finishing third in the 1958 Grand Prix of Angola at the Nova Lisboa circuit, he decided that he needed better machinery and bought an ex-works Jaguar D-type , which had been raced by Mike Hawthorn and others. Using this he was able to produce better results and he finished sceond in the Angolan race in 1959 and took on the visiting Europeans in the South African GP at East London in 1960, in which he finished seventh. That summer he raced in Europe, driving a Lola Formula 2 car at Chimay before returning to Africa, where he won the Grande Premio de Angola in his D-Type.

In 1961 he went back to Europe and raced in Formula Junior for Ken Tyrrell alongside South African Tony Maggs. They pair were very successful and in 1962 Love raced Tyrrell's Mini-Coopers in the British Touring Car Championship and won the title. He also raced in Formula Junior but broke his arm badly in a crash at Albi. This left him with no movement in his left arm and he decided to return home and concentrate on his business. He continued to race in South Africa and won his first of six South African Championships in 1964, while taking part in the big international events when F1 cars visited. In total he competed in nine Grands Prix, initially as a privateer but later with Team Gunston. In 1967 he came close to winning the South African GP in an ex-Bruce McLaren Cooper when all the visitors retired but his hopes were dashed with a fuel pump problem. Love finished second to Pedro Rodriguez. He continued to race well into the 1970s before retiring to Bulawayo where he continued to run John Love Motors.