Thursday, 1 October 2020

Graham Cox

The local motorsports community lost one of its own two weeks ago with the passing of the well known and much respected co driver Graham Cox, who died after a short illness aged 66.

For many years he lived in Sling before moving to Milkwall. 

A quiet, likeable, unassuming character he was very well organised, his unflappable nature made him ideal for the co-drivers seat a job he made look very easy, but was always available to impart his knowledge to others. 

Graham’s motorsport interest started back in the 1970’s, he then joined the Forest of Dean motor club in 1973 and was a member for nearly 47 years. 

His co-driving career started back in 1975 when he teamed with local police officer Kim Butcher in Saab 96 V4, one of the best results was finishing a very respectable 17th overall on the Moonraker Road rally a round of the Motoring News championship, more road rallies followed as he honed his excellent map reading skills, winning the Forest of Dean motor club’s BJ Price Trophy Rally with Kim, the event staring at Raglan Services. 

He then teamed up with more local drivers for road events with the likes of John Cole, Mike Furnival, and Mike Wheeler. 

It was with Mike on the Gremlin road rally one night that they took a trip into the Monmouthshire and Brecon canal, hence to say that was the end of their rally. 

The Nicolet Stages in 1981 which ran in the Forest of Dean saw Graham team up with local haulier Barry Brandon and finished 45th. 

In 1981 he teamed up for the first time with Dave Jenkins, this was the start of a partnership that lasted 35 years, with many highlights, finishing 2nd in the highly competitive  BTRDA championship1600 class in 1985, they finished 9th on the 87 Wyedean, followed up with 6th in 1990, 4th in 1992 all in Escort RS1800. 

But in 1996 the duo won the Wyedean, only the second ever local crew to win their local event. 

They followed this up with 4th in 97,8th in 2009. 

They teamed up once more for the 40th Wyedean in 2015 finishing 26th and 2nd Historic. 

Graham also did some rallies with Nigel Jenkins and Adrian Williams, but in the later years he had a lot of success co-driving for Jason Gardner. 

But his longstanding partnership with Dave Jenkins brought many successes and Dave never really gelled with other co-drivers, such was their trust in one another, Graham had this very laid back calm nature with exceptional map and pace note reading skills and has a team they worked very well. 

"We started out together on road rallies, before moving to stage events, but Graham was always on top of his game and we had a lot of success together and fun with his dry sense of humour, there isn't many partnerships that lasted as long as ours, he wasn't only a great co-driver but a great friend and I will miss him dearly. "

But it wasn't only his co-driving skills which made him the well respected likeable character, he was always happy to help with any event, he was the Wyedean safety officer in 1983, when the motor club ran the Rally Time Trial’s and Dixies Challenge events in recent years he ran the ‘Service In Control’ role all by himself, such was his organisational skills.

But there was more to Graham than just motorsport, for many years he was involved with the scouts, a season ticket holder at Gloucester Rugby and family man. 

One of the best stories was when he co-drove Nigel Jenkins on the Wyedean, and they lost the bumper on the Peugeot 309 GTi, Graham organised a Scouts trip out into the forest to look for Nigel's bumper. 

Former Forest of Dean motor club chairman Paul Willetts said. "I knew Graham for many years not only from competing on events, but motor club activities and functions, he was always someone who was a voice of sense, always happy to lend a hand, and someone who if you gave him a job to do he just did it, no fuss no drama, it's a really sad news to hear of his passing he will be sorely missed. "

To his wife Margaret daughters Debbie and Joanne family and his many friends the Forest of Dean Motor Club offers its sincere condolences. 

Paul Willetts

Forest of Dean Motor Club