We are sad to report the passing of our member Simon Arron at the age of 61 on Friday 11th November following a short illness.
Simon was a well-known figure to many Guild members, particularly those working in the motorsport arena. He started his career on the editorial staff of Motoring News in 1982, having provided reports and photos for the weekly newspaper while still at school. He then moved to Fast Lane magazine as first production editor and later road-test editor.
He was appointed editor of Motor Sport magazine in 1991 before turning freelance five years later, concentrating on Formula One from 2001. Simon edited two editions of the annual motorsport bible Autocourse in 2011 and 2012, then returned to Motor Sport in 2013 as features editor. In recent times he had been freelancing again, while continuing as the magazine’s Editor at Large.
“I first met Simon, who was just six months older than me, when he was at Motoring News and he was a constant presence throughout my motorsport media career,” News Briefs editor Andrew Charman said. “While he was renowned in the rarified world of F1, you were just as likely to find him trackside at a clubbie at Brands Hatch and enjoying the day no less – if he was there you knew you were in for a good chat and a laugh.
“On my own return trackside last month I was looking forward to catching up with Simon at the Formula Ford Festival, one of his favourite meetings, but sadly it was not to be.”
Guild member David Tremayne, a long-time friend of Simon’s, penned the following tribute;
“ “So, Tonio…” – I haven’t heard that opening remark, spoken in a relatively high pitch, ever since our mate Tonio Liuzzi graduated to F1 back in 2005. Up to 2004 that would be how FIA interviewer Simon Arron would usually begin the post-race F3000 press conferences. And, of course, we would hop from foot to foot as if our heels were sprung, twiddle with a forelock, and mimic him mercilessly vocally too, when he walked back into the press room. Our hilarious mirth would be met with an inevitable and good-natured vee sign.
I think he joined Motoring News early in 1982, one of then editor Mike Greasley’s last hires before I took over in August. I left in February 1995, and in all those years together, and since whenever we would hang out at F1 races, we never had a cross word or a crossed sword. We took the mickey out of one another, sure, but you always knew you would win that because, fundamentally, Si was a very proper bloke. He would quietly get, not offended, but bemused, by bad language or if he heard tales about people we knew who might not be behaving themselves correctly, so his repertoire for ribald comebacks was always limited.
He was completely dedicated to motor racing. He loved it, just like we all did. He had been hooked on cars since he was a toddler, and while still at school had persuaded the editor of his local newspaper that it was crucial that he published race reports from Oulton Park, Aintree and anywhere else he had been spectating. But with his calm and even-tempered nature he made a better fist of putting up with the nettlesome meddling of MN proprietor Old Man Tee than the rest of us. So long as he was doing something to do with racing, whether it be covering F1, F3000 or just a clubbie at his beloved Oulton, he was content with life. And in recent years he had added being a snapper to a long list of talents which included an encyclopaedic knowledge of even the most arcane aspects of British club racing.
It was no surprise that his innate correctness was matched by a sweet nature. He was one of the most good-natured people I’ve ever known. I cannot remember a single time in the 40 years I was lucky to know him that I ever saw him angry. Temporarily discombobulated, perhaps, bemused, as noted, but never angry. Even the time when he and I had journeyed to Crondall to visit Denis Jenkinson and a truck driver deliberately rubbed down the side of his company Ford Sierra in a roundabout. Si behaved as if it had been entirely his own fault, and remained affable and courteous. Just as he had been with Jenks, who was being wilfully cantankerous throughout our meeting.
Si was one of those rare people who just see the good in everyone and every situation. His sunny disposition was always highly prized amid all the weekly madness at MN, and, I’m sure, at Motor Sport magazine where he was editor-at-large. We are lucky that, via those publications and others to which he contributed as a freelance, he leaves a huge body of work that will endure.
We nicknamed him Tubber, though actually he wasn’t tubby at all. But as I learned to my cost one time I tried to pass him down the inside at Coffee Corner at the Motoring News office, collision with him was more painful than inverting a jet dragster at 250 mph. He was fit and… solid.
And now he is gone. It will take a long time to sink in that the serious heart attack he suffered at home while we were in Texas for the US GP created problems that could not, as we had all prayed, be alleviated with a pacemaker.
And so we lose another good friend, another loved and valued team-mate. It hurts, and our thoughts are with his family, especially Tom and Lucy, who lose their father so soon after their mother, Michelle.”
The Guild sends its sincere condolences to Simon’s family and very many friends.
Thanks to Shirley Woodall for photo