Life expectancy, pandemics apart, has become so extended that the loss of someone you consider relatively young always comes as something of a shock. This was certainly the case when we heard last week that Nick Anderson had died at the age of 67 after a short illness.
With his lovely wife Jane, Nick had been an important part of the Alfa racing community for over a decade, although he had had to give up his racing licence over the past couple of years due to other health issues. Nonetheless, he still kept in touch with what we were doing, mainly through his friendship with Louise West and her partner Charlotte. Whenever Nick and Jane were at a race circuit, there was always a lively welcome in the Anderson motorhome and I recall many a glass of wine or a shared breakfast.
Nick joined the Alfa Championship in 2008 with an ex Heynes family 33 but this by no means his first taste of motorsport as he had previously raced a Renault 5, BMW, TR6 and even a Sports 2000 before a longish gap brought about by the arrival of children (and their associated costs!), not to speak of his career as a master baker. But as soon as he was able to come back to the tracks, his enjoyment of Alfa Romeo as a marque made it clear which championship he should join. However, at the same time he had established the Mayfield Farm Bakery and School and, as Jane records, there will be so many people who will have appreciated Nick’s enthusiasm, skills and constant laughter as he taught them how to make superior bread. On track Nick was a strong competitor but suffered a number of reliability problems through his choice of engine builder, probably costing him numerous successes and race starts. Nonetheless, things started to look better in 2011 when he finished 2nd to Steve Dymoke’s 156 in Class A2 with a win at Brands Hatch on the way. 2013 brought a class win at Silverstone early on with a second place on the same circuit later in the year. By far his best season was 2014, when he beat Bryan Shrubb to the Class A2 Championship, with four wins to his credit. It looked as though this would continue in 2015 but his hopes petered out halfway through the year. A standout memory for me goes back to 2011 when Nick and Jane made the huge effort after a working day to drive down to Pembrey from Hertfordshire for Sunday’s race. That was dedication!
Nick had supported his son Russell who raced in the Championship for a couple of years with a 146 in the Twin Spark Cup. His main focus, however, became the plans that he and Louise made for going racing in shared drive events with a couple of 916 Spiders as something they would both enjoy. Nick had already kept Louise in racing by donating a 33 shell, when her original Modified 33 was badly damaged in an accident at Oulton. This was typical of Nick who was always keen to help other drivers. Sadly, the shared drive project could never come to full fruition.
We always enjoyed hearing about Nick and Jane’s travels abroad with their motorhome, giving us ideas about where we might go ourselves. One of my favourite memories, though, is of Nick telling me how much he enjoyed his role as “consort”, when Jane became the first female Master of the Worshipful Company of Fruiterers, with many official engagements to undertake.
We have gathered together a collection of photographs which we hope will act as a vivid reminder of Nick. We shall miss him greatly.
Postscript from Andy Robinson: Sincere thanks to Michael Lindsay for this fitting tribute to Nick. I was shocked and saddened to hear of his unexpected and untimely passing and I will always remember him as a genuine, friendly and welcome presence in our paddock – a true gentleman and a lovely man.