Eoin Young has died at the age of 75. Young was a trendsetter in many respects, as a founder member of the McLaren team, as a journalist and PR man and as a trader in motoring memorabilia.
Born in the village of Cave, not far from the town of Timaru on New Zealand’s South Island, in the summer of 1939, he spent his early life in and around the town, becoming a teller in the ANZ bank for five years, while also writing for the Timaru Herald under the byline “Dipstick”. In 1961, at the age of 22, he travelled to Europe with Denny Hulme and spent his time travelling around with the Formula Junior series. He then joined forces with Bruce McLaren, working as his secretary. This led to him being one of the founders of McLaren in 1963. He stayed with the team until 1966 when he returned to journalism writing an insider’s column about F1 for Autocar and later for Road & Track in the United States. Autocar would run his column for the next 32 years. He also worked in PR with Elf, Gulf and Ford and then in 1979 diversified into a lucrative new business, collecting and selling race motor racing memorabilia to the über-enthusiasts around the world. If you wanted something, Eoin probably had it, or knew where to find it. While he had a reputation for charging top dollar, Eoin also had a heart of gold although acts of kindness were always prefaced with the quiet warning “don’t tell anyone I did this”. It was thanks to Eoin’s generous nature that I acquired an original programme from the Monaco GP prize giving in 1929 because he knew of my fascination with the driver “Williams”. Over the years he wrote a total of 12 racing books, including the story of James Hunt’s 1976 World Championship, called “Against All Odds” and biographies Bruce McLaren, Denny Hulme and Chris Amon. He wrote two autobiographical works “It Beats Working” and “It Still Beats Working”. He won the 1996 Guild of Motoring Writers Timo Makinen Trophy for his outstanding coverage of motorsport and was one of a very select group of journalists who have been granted membership of the British Racing Drivers’ Club.
Eoin returned to New Zealand in 2006 but continued to write for a variety of outlets around the world.
His true legacy, however, will be the multitude of fans whom he inspired with his stories from the F1 world and those whom he encouraged to follow their dreams and become F1 writers, who today continue that work of spreading the word about their passion for the sport.