Ian was essentially a private entrant who began his racing career in 1966 in Hill Climbs. He graduated in 1968 to Chevron GT cars and became a successful contender in International Sports Car events, which included Le Mans in 1970. Nephew of former Connaught driver, Ken Downing, and brother of Aston Martin/Ferrari driver David Skailes, he retired from the sport at the end of 1970 after a short but productive career. David and Ian run the last family-owned firm in the UK licensed to produce Stilton (Cropwell Bishop). 1966: Drove a Marcos Volvo in Hill Climbs at the age of 19 and won his class at Wiscombe and gained a 4th at Loton Park. 1968: Made his circuit racing debut in August at Silverstone in a 1967 Chevron B6 BMW. In the remainder of the season he scored two wins and a 2nd at Silverstone, a 4th at Thruxton and a 4th at Oulton Park. 1969: With a new Chevron B8 BMW he achieved two 1st a 2nd and a 3rd at Silverstone, a 1st and 2nd at Snetterton, two 3rds and a 4th at Thruxton and two 2nds and a class lap record at Mallory Park, (50.6 sec). He also took pole for the Martini International 2 Ltr race at Silverstone but finished 4th after a spin. He retired at Vila Real, Mugello, Nurburgring 500km, Barcelona 9hrs and Paris 1000km but managed a 2nd in class in the Madrid 6hrs. In all he finished in 16 out of 22 starts and finished below 4th on only 4 occasions. 1970: Acquired a new Chevron B16 Cosworth FVC primarily to contest the FIA 2 ltr Sports Car Championship. He finished 5th at Ricard, 3rd at Hameenlinna, 7th at Salzburgring (after a pitstop) and 3rd at Cadwell Park. However he retired at Nurburgring 500km, Mugello and Spa. He shared the works entered Chevron B16 Cosworth at Le Mans with John Hine but retired after 22.5hrs having been 13th overall and the leading British Car. Other disappointing retirements included the BOAC 1000kms, Vila real, Paris 1000kms (when easily leading the 2 ltr class) and Casablanca (having set pole and led the race). He did however finish 5th in the Madrid 6hrs at Jarama. Ian retired from racing at the end of 1970 whilst still aged only 23 to concentrate on business interests.
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