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Mike MacDowel occasionally raced on the international circuits during the mid 1950s but it was as a true amateur in British hillclimbing that he appeared happiest.
Sports cars with Lotus and Cooper
He enjoyed a successful 1955 in national sports cars with his Lotus Mk9-Ford winning 10 times. That earned a works Cooper drive for the 1955 Tourist Trophy at Dundrod. The race was marred by two separate accidents in which three drivers died. MacDowel and co-driver Ivor Bueb steered their Cooper T39-Climax clear of trouble and finished 10th overall to win the Sports 1100cc class after the Colin Chapman/Innes Ireland Lotus was delayed.
It was his only start in a World Sportscar Championship race but MacDowel continued with the team for the 1956 club season. He also made a brief switch to single-seaters and was 12th on his Formula 2 debut in the 1956 Oulton Park Gold Cup.
1957 French Grand Prix
Cooper entered him for two continental races in 1957. His Cooper T43-Climax was second behind team-mate Jack Brabham in the undersubscribed F2 Prix de Paris at Montlhéry. MacDowel then qualified at the back for the French GP at Rouen-les-Essarts and he handed his car to Brabham (who had earlier crashed) to complete the race in seventh and last position. Like Dundrod two years earlier, that was MacDowel’s one start in that particular world championship.
MacDowel then took time away from the sport but returned to hillclimbing in 1968. He won the RAC British Championship in 1973 and 1974 with a Brabham BT36X-Repco. He had worked in the motor trade in Cheltenham during the 1950s, but later moved into property when based in Guildford.