We just read the item on the list digest reporting the death of Ron Yates and
Ron Burnett at Buttonwillow on Sunday. We didn't know Ron Burnett, but we
offer our condolences to his family.
Ron Yates was a very good friend of ours, and well known to probably every
older active member of the West Coast Austin-Healey clubs. He had been an
member of the clubs, attending many of the events since at least the early
eighties, when we first met him.
Ron was a recognized authority on the history of Austin-Healey racing in
California. For many years Ron had been working on a book on that topic, which
sadly will go unfinished. Ron was also the only member of the "World's Smallest
Austin-Healey Club" the "Arizona Social Society of a Healey Owner and Latent
Entrepreneur" which published the Dipstick Digest, "quarterly or whenever" and
covered "mostly Healey racing stuff from the '50s and '60s."
Sadly, we just received the latest issue of the Digest in the mail yesterday,
which included an obituary and memorial to Jim Albeck, another great Healey
friend who left on his own longest tour earlier this year.
Ron was probably the kindest person we've ever met in this hobby, but with a
quick wit and a willingness always to go out of his way to help anyone who
asked for information on Healey racing history. Thus it is ironic, but perhaps
fitting, that he died in a Healey on a race track, being as close as he could
to the sport, hobby, and car he loved so much.
The loss of his knowledge is a tragedy for the hobby, and the loss of his
friendship an even greater source of sorrow. We'll miss him greatly.
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