Obituary: Ian Headon


 

Ian Headon

26th June 1938 – 21st January 2018

 Ian Headon - Jaguar enthusiast

 

Sadly, circumstances dictated that I never got to know Ian Headon as well as I would have liked. Living in North Devon, I never knew there was a fellow Jaguar enthusiast and XJR-15 owner living nearby until my daughter, Esta-jane, became a Jaguar Heritage volunteer and it was suggested that she might like to borrow Ian’s XJR-15 for her Wedding car, however, she insisted that it had to be an XJ220 !!

Having then moved away from North Devon to East Devon, I tried to persuade Ian to bring his XJR-15 to Axminster next time he was giving it some exercise!

Several attempts to visit Ian at his home did not come to fruitition, but we regularly met at Jaguar events, such as Spares Days, and Ian attended every one of Nigel Webb’s Mark 1 Days. The last time I saw Ian was at the Andrew Whyte Memorial Lecture in 2017.

I knew that Ian and his family where avid racing enthusiasts and spent much of the year following the sport, but I had no idea of what this entailed until Tony O’keeffe enlightened me!

 

Ian’s daughter, Louise, sent me the following pictures … a snapshot of her father’s life.

Ian Headon Mark 7 Jaguar Ian loved Jaguars from an early age, his father had a Mark 7 Jaguar, from then on his love grew for the marque!
Racing C-type at Davidstowe This is  a school book with pictures of a C-type racing at Davidstowe Aerodrome, North Cornwall
Ian Headon with his first car, which he built while still at school Ian attended Shebbear College in North Devon and his love of engineering (self taught) saw him build his first car whilst still at school.
Ian Headon press cuttings Enlarge and read the press cuttings opposite and they will tell you the story of Ian’s success
Ian Headon with one year's trophy haul This is one year’s trophy haul !!
Ian Headon RIP Quote from a very good friend ….‘your father was my first motorsport legend …. he built it, raced it and won …’

 

Ian Headon with his D-type at Castle Combe 2016 At Castle Combe in 2016, when he was asked to bring the D-type up for the 50th Anniversary – they wanted the grid line up of that year – Jaguar Heritage were there too.
With Norman Dewis at Nigel Webb’s Mark 1 Day in May 2017
Ian Headon RIP Pictured here with some of his collection, Ian’s lifelong love for Jaguar had to remain a hobby, as his father was a baker and Ian was expected to work in the bakery and eventually take on the business, which he did.

 

In his eulogy to Ian Headon, a lifelong Jaguar enthusiast, Tony O’keeffe had the following to say…

 

I would like to thank Dee, Lee, Louise and Sarah for giving me the opportunity to say some words on the life of Ian Headon.

This is not one of those jobs that anyone looks forward to, as it means we are celebrating the life of a loved one who is no longer with us, and I only hope that I can do Ian justice.

You all know how hard it is to make friends, and more importantly real friends, in life. This was not the case with Ian. Ian was one of those people that genuinely cared and he became a part of so many people’s lives.

I have had the privilege of knowing Ian and his family for over 20 years now and they have all welcomed me and it seems 1/2 of Jaguar in to their lives, particularly at motor sport events throughout Europe when we all enjoyed their hospitality at Ian and Dee’s diner.

The diner was actually Ian’s motor home and it was a safe haven and instantly recognizable  at every event by the large flag pole and Jaguar flag that Ian would fly to guide us in.  Whenever we left a campsite, we appeared to always leave the largest collection of wine bottles for recycling, we were all very keen on this and doing our bit to save the environment!!

As you all know Ian was a walking encyclopaedia of motor sport knowledge and thankfully for me he was a great supporter of Jaguar Cars.

The evenings spent in Ian’s motor home talking cars and drinking wine and the odd whisky or two for Ian, were legendary.

Conversation never dried up and it was in these early stages that Lee would impress us all with her knowledge of motor sport and her ability to sneak in to the Goodwood Ball without a ticket.

It was on one such occasion that Ian arrived very early at Goodwood to get the best camping spot and this was just behind Goodwood house. The ladies had all gone to the ball and we sat outside during the evening sharing one or two bottles whilst waiting for the amazing firework display at the Goodwood ball to commence…..

Only to find that when it started we were right in the firing line and were showered with falling rockets!  These were the good days before health and safety, the following year that whole part of the Goodwood field was closed to all campers.

 

Ian Headon with Win Percy to his right

With Win Percy. Ian actually beat him once in the Players Number 6 Autocross series!

 

One year whilst we were in the diner at Goodwood, I met Win Percy. Win was a very close friend of Ian and an incredible racing driver and he was in a very exclusive drivers club, in that he was in a car going down the Mulsanne straight at 200mph….nothing strange in that but Win’s car was upside down at the time!

Win, unfortunately can’t be here today but he has asked me to read out these words.

Ian Headon - Players No.6 Woburn Abbey 1969

” I first had the privilege to meet Ian way back in the Sixties when we both competed in the Country wide Players No6 Autocross Championship, me in my Ford Anglia and him in his very impressive very quick self-built Special. We both represented the South west area but nevertheless always competing against each other for the days Trophies.  But in those days and at club level the friendships formed were probably as important as the Trophies and thats when we became friends.”

Ian’s life continued with his Bakery business and mine into professional Motorsport, so after those fun years we lost touch but he often, with his cheeky grin,he reminded me that he did beat me with his Special.

It wasn’t until the nineties that the friendship was refreshed through our shared love of Motorsport and of Jaguar Cars.

One Sunday when Ian, Dee and Lee were spectating at Donnington me still competing, they at the end of the day offered me dinner with them in their Motorhome before the drive back to Dorset. That friendship and respect for Ian has continued right up to his untimely Death.

He may have been a Master Baker but I will remember him as a skilled Engineer, a very Good Driver, a very Knowledgeable Jaguar enthusiast, but most of all a very Genuine Friend.”

Win.

 

The motor home was at the centre of so many social gatherings and over the years the Jaguar team grew in size from one man and a tent to several caravans and additional motor homes, all surrounding Ian.

It was on one such year, when after our traditional last night Sunday curry at Ian and Dee’s diner and several bottles of wine, I decided to sleep in what was now a spare caravan and not in my tent. You can imagine my surprise when I was woken early in the morning by the caravan rental company coming in early and they were hitching me up to their tow vehicle. Without Ian’s very vocal intervention I may have found myself many miles away.

There was also the occasion when Dee was driving her car following Ian who was driving the motor home. There was a prearranged stop on the side of the road where they both sat in the motor home for a break. After this Dee went back to her car and Ian drove off in the motor home to continue the journey. After a 40 mile round trip, Ian was back with Dee in the same layby, returning Dee’s car keys which she had left in the motor home.

Aside from cars, Ian was also very passionate about his boat, and when on this he transformed in to Captain Headon. I recall, it was way back in 1999 when we had the last total eclipse in the UK.

Ian had invited me to his boat and he was going to sale out in the direction of the Eddystone lighthouse where the best view was supposed to happen.

We got in position and then I passed around the welding goggles I had borrowed from work. Unfortunately the goggles worked so well that we saw nothing at all and we then headed back in to Plymouth to watch the eclipse on the television. But it did prove one thing to me that Ian was a very confident sailor.

Ian, loved his family and in the past few years Louise and Sarah started to also join us at Goodwood and our wine bottle recycling took on a whole new level.  Ian and Dee became grandparents and all in all Ian had done a very good job in bringing up all his children who he was very proud of.

 

All pictures were supplied by Louise Ransome Headon