Morecambe rally driving stalwart had two careers

Arthur Senior was still competing in rallies until a few years before his death. Courtesy Tony Large Photography.
Arthur Senior was still competing in rallies until a few years before his death. Courtesy Tony Large Photography.

A stalwart of the town car rally scene and Morecambe Car Club has died.

Arthur Senior was born in Morecambe in 1929. He began driving when the family bakery business on White Lund was short of a driver to take a van load of bread and cakes to a shop in Lancaster, so Arthur jumped in and delivered it himself. His father was none too impressed when he found out!

Arthur competed in his first rally in 1951, aged 21, and from there his competitive driving career took off. In 1952, the Morecambe Car Club was formed and Arthur was asked to join so he and his regular navigator Bob Baxter became the first non-founder members of the club.

Throughout the 1950s, Arthur competed extensively in his road cars, often racingn at Aintree or Oulton Park on the Saturday, then a night rally, followed by an autotest or similar on the Sunday.

His evenings were spent preparing the car and participating in car club committee business.

His regular navigators were the aforementioned Bob Baxter of the Baxter’s potted shrimps business and Cec Hall.

He competed in the 1959 Monte Carlo Rally, his crew finishing eighth overall and taking their leading Jaguar to the team prize.

Arthur was drafted in to the ‘works’ Reliant team in 1963. Bobby Parkes was already there and he and Arthur shared a car on the 1963 Spa-Sofia-Liege rally on which they retired due to electrical issues, this after hitting and killing a wolf in the former Yugoslavia.

They teamed up again a few months later in the same car, complete with a wolf’s head sticker, on the 1964 Monte Carlo Rally.

Disaster struck on the fabled Col de Turini when a tyre blowout sent them off the edge and back down to the road they’d been on a few seconds previously.

Fortunately, neither were seriously hurt but the factory got more publicity due to the strength of the car and how it stood up to being rolled down a hillside.

Arthur’s rallying career wound down shortly after his last event in 1966 and up to 1982, he had no competitive involvement in the sport. Then he was invited to take part in ‘The Golden 50’ commemorating 50 years of the RAC Rally, teaming up with his old friend Bobby Parkes.

Thus began his second rallying career in historic rallying all over the UK and Europe.

With Colin Francis, 65-year-old Arthur won the 1994 Morecambe Classic Illuminations Rally 10 years after a heart bypass operation and 37 years after winning it for the first time in 1957.

More health issues affected him in 2007, when he had another successful life-saving op at the Freeman in Newcastle, this to remove an aneurism from his aorta, 23 years after his bypass at the same place. He recovered from that and still went rallying.
He continued driving until 2013.