FORMER Oxford United chairman Robin Herd has died aged 80.

The U's have reported the engineer, who also had a successful career in motorsport, had a long-standing battle with cancer and died yesterday.

Herd co-founded March Racing, which was based in Oxfordshire, in 1969.

He bought United in 1995 and in his first season at the helm Denis Smith's side won promotion from Division 2.

A statement from United said: "Robin left the club in 1998 but is fondly remembered by all at the club and our thoughts are with his family at this sad time."

Herd studied physics and engineering at St Peter’s College, Oxford, and went on to join the Royal Aircraft Establishment, working on the Concorde project.

He joined Formula 1 team McLaren in 1965, before going to automotive engineering company Cosworth three years later where he carried out work for Frank Williams in 1969 to modify one of his cars.

Herd co-founded Bicester-based March Engineering the same year with Max Mosley, Alan Rees and Graham Coaker.

The team went on to compete in 207 Grand Prix between 1970 and 1992, winning three races.

March also enjoyed success in Indycars, winning the Indianapolis 500 five years in a row between 1983 and 1987.

Herd sold the team to Japanese property company Leyton House in 1989 and created his own design company, before quitting motorsport in 1995.

He would return with an Indy Racing League team called March Indy International in 1999.