Peter Howdle, who died in 2007 aged 83, was a founder member of MCN, established over half a century ago, the world’s most successful motorcycle newspaper. He worked on the editorial side for 30+ years, primarily as Sports Editor but with a short spell as Editor. Born in France and fluent in several languages, he was affectionately known as Monsieur. Peter earned the respect and admiration of factory chiefs in Europe and Japan for his consistently accurate reportage of World Championship Grand Prix, International Motocross, and all major Trials. Competitors, similarly, profoundly enjoyed Peter’s company, for he never displayed favouritism, and he always knew when to keep a secret.
He had earlier achieved an exemplary war record, serving in the RAF as a rear gunner in Lancasters and, quite remarkably, survived in excess of 30 missions! After the war he spent 8 years at James within the sales and competition departments, prior to moving to MCN in 1956. Renowned for innumerable scoops [and many amusing incidents] it was Peter’s camera that captured Gordon Jackson’s famous solitary “dab” during the AJS rider’s winning ride in the 1961 Scottish Six Days Trial.
As a well deserved tribute upon his retirement in 1989, and unbeknown to Peter, News Editor Norrie Whyte and Sir Robin Miller [EMAP CEO] fittingly organised a This is your Life style Farewell Party, attended by virtually all the UK’s top competition riders; a long-lasting function that is still talked about today. Widely acknowledged in his era as the UK’s best off-road photojournalist Peter Howdle was a much-loved figure!