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Final lap of honour for lifelong race fan - 13 Mar 2009

Brands Hatch local resident Michael Owen received the tribute of a lifetime today (Friday), with a final lap of honour around the Grand Prix circuit on the way to his funeral.

Owen, who sadly passed away from cancer last month aged 60, had been a staunch supporter of Brands Hatch throughout his life.

His daughter, Sharna Peyto, wrote to MotorSport Vision's Chief Executive Jonathan Palmer, asking if his hearse could complete a lap of the circuit as a fitting farewell to her motorsport fanatic father.

Owen's obsession with motor racing began aged 14, when he cycled from Dartford to Brands Hatch to watch the major events. In 1986 he moved to West Kingsdown to be closer to the circuit.

Sharna Peyto, daughter of Michael Owen, said: "My Dad would often lie in bed or sit in the garden listening to the 'music' of the sounds coming from Brands Hatch, then sometimes he'd disappear off to the circuit to catch the last few laps of an exciting race. The fact that he insisted on spending every spare moment at Brands Hatch with a stop watch in his pocket caused many a family argument!

"He was also a huge Formula One fan and would always watch the Grand Prix live on TV, no matter what time of day or what family occasion. I don't think he ever actually matured from that 14-year-old boy that first fell in love with motor racing, as even his mobile phone ring tone was the sound of an engine revving," Peyto added.

Jonathan Palmer, Chief Executive of Brands Hatch owner MotorSport Vision, added: "Michael's lap of honour is a wonderful way to pay tribute to a man who gained so much pleasure from visiting Brands Hatch. It is certainly one of the more unusual requests I have received, but we were more than happy to offer Sharna and her family the opportunity to give their father a unique and memorable send-off."

Michael is survived by his wife Wendy, son Simon, daughters Carys and Sharna and grandsons Sunny and Corey.