John Habin

John Habin

5/4/1915 - 26/3/2005

John Habin was born on 5th April 1915 at Chidham, West Sussex, the eldest of three children of Charles, a farmer and later a grey hound trainer, and Caroline. His parents named him John Dixon Jellicoe Habin, the Jellioce being named after Admiral John Jellicoe, who was born in Southampton and found fame in World War One as the admiral who led the British Navy at the Battle of Jutland.

In 1934, he started grass track motor cycle racing and won his first novices race on 25th July and went on win the Southern speedway grass track championship. He never lost his love of grass track motor racing, obtaining many placings and again winning the novices race on 29th June 1947. By 1949, he had moved away from grass track racing and decided to race motor cars.  He raced 500cc Formula 3 cars and joined the Cooper team.  He also drove the JBS Norton and the Leston Special. In conjunction with Mike Erskine he developed the Erskine Staride racing car, which he first drove at Goodwood in April 1952. On 23rd September 1951, he won the Brands Hatch Open Challenge in a JBS Norton. On 6th October 1951, at Castle Coombe, whilst driving a Staride Norton, he crashed, rolled the car several times, broke his jaw in four places and lost his teeth. Notwithstanding this, he continued to race, partly in Formula 3 and then in Formula Libre, an open class, in which he drove the Maseratti 4CLT for Fred Tuck and also instigated the Revis 1500 with Reg Bicknell, travelling to Germany to bring back a 1500cc Hansa-Borgward “Renn” race engine. He gained many placings on English and European circuits. He stopped racing in 1955, partly due to another bad racing accident and partly due to some encouragement on the part of his later wife and life long partner, Peggy. John Habin died on 26th March 2005, whilst on holiday in Fish Hoek, South Africa, with his wife, Peggy, just a few days before his 90th birthday.

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