The motorsport community has lost one of its true gentlemen in Kent ‘The Bear’ Youlden, who passed away at the age of 72 early this week following an extended fight with dementia.
A long-time engineer at the Ford Motor Company and a high-performance driving instructor, Kent is most fondly remembered by motorsport fans as a front-runner in production car racing, although his resume extends to multiple tin-top classes over a long and distinguished competition career.
His earliest motorsport forays came in rallycross and rallying circles, with multiple successes in the early 1970s in the local Victorian scene.
From there, Kent shifted his focus to circuit racing and the anything-goes world of sports sedans, firstly with a Holden LJ Torana XU-1, and then a wild TE Cortina, which he campaigned with much success through to 1981.
By the mid-1980s, Kent and his brother Brett moved into the world of production car racing, in which a highlight was the duo’s victory in the 1990 Winton 300 – a key event on the motorsport calendar at the time.
Kent was also unstoppable in the Australian Production Car Championship with back-to-back victories aboard factory-backed Ford Falcons in 1990 and ’91, when the category focused on homegrown family saloons and his competition included Peter Fitzgerald, Ken Douglas, Tony Scott, Steve Masterton and Mal Rose.
He was also a feature at the early editions of the Bathurst 12 Hour, finishing second outright in the inaugural event aboard a Ford Laser TX3 Turbo alongside his brother Brett and Ken Douglas.
Another standout result was fifth in the 1992 Sandown 500 aboard a production-spec EB Falcon S amid a field of Group A machinery, while he also enjoyed a dominant run in Historic Touring Cars aboard a Holden Monaro.
The Youlden family racing genes were passed on to Kent’s son and carsales ambassador Luke Youlden, who rose to the top of Australian motorsport with victory in the 2017 Bathurst 1000 alongside David Reynolds.
He is survived by his wife Yvonne, and his four children, Luke, Clint, James and Rebecca. Also his brothers Ray and Brett.
Kent assisted carsales with a number of events as a keen assessor of road cars – sporting and otherwise. The whole carsales.com.au team extends its sincere condolences to the Youlden family.
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