Tony Marsh (racing driver)

Last updated

Tony Marsh
Born(1931-07-20)20 July 1931
Died7 May 2009(2009-05-07) (aged 77)
Formula One World Championship career
Nationality Flag of the United Kingdom.svg British
Active years 19571958, 1961
Teamsprivateer Cooper and Lotus
Entries5 (4 starts)
Championships 0
Wins 0
Career points0
Pole positions 0
Fastest laps 0
First entry 1957 German Grand Prix
Last entry 1961 German Grand Prix

Anthony Ernest "Tony" Marsh (20 July 1931 7 May 2009) was a British racing driver from England. His Formula One career was short and unsuccessful, but he enjoyed great success in hillclimbing, winning the British Hill Climb Championship on a record six occasions.

Formula One is the highest class of single-seater auto racing sanctioned by the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) and owned by the Formula One Group. The FIA Formula One World Championship has been one of the premier forms of racing around the world since its inaugural season in 1950. The word "formula" in the name refers to the set of rules to which all participants' cars must conform. A Formula One season consists of a series of races, known as Grands Prix, which take place worldwide on purpose-built circuits and on public roads.

Hillclimbing form of motorsport

Hillclimbing is a branch of motorsport in which drivers compete against the clock to complete an uphill course.

The British Hill Climb Championship (BHCC) is the most prestigious Hillclimbing championship in Great Britain. Hillclimbing in the British Isles has a rich history and this event has been held every year since 1947.


Having begun his hillclimbing career in 1953 with a Cooper-JAP that had previously been driven by Peter Collins, [1] he won three successive championships in the car from 1955 to 1957. In the 1960s, he drove an ex-Formula One BRM for a time before constructing his own Marsh car. Inspired by Peter Westbury's Ferguson P99, Marsh devised an unusual drivetrain which utilised four-wheel-drive while accelerating but rear-wheel-drive while cornering. [1]

Cooper Car Company auto racing team

The Cooper Car Company is a car manufacturer founded in December 1947 by Charles Cooper and his son John Cooper. Together with John's boyhood friend, Eric Brandon, they began by building racing cars in Charles's small garage in Surbiton, Surrey, England, in 1946. Through the 1950s and early 1960s they reached motor racing's highest levels as their rear-engined, single-seat cars competed in both Formula One and the Indianapolis 500, and their Mini Cooper dominated rally racing. The Cooper name lives on in the Cooper versions of the Mini production cars that are built in England, but is now owned and marketed by BMW.

Peter Collins (racing driver) British racecar driver

Peter John Collins was a British racing driver. He was killed in the 1958 German Grand Prix, just weeks after winning the RAC British Grand Prix. He started his career as a 17-year-old in 1949, impressing in Formula 3 races, finishing third in the 1951 Autosport National Formula 3 Championship.

British Racing Motors Formula One team

British Racing Motors (BRM) was a British Formula One motor racing team. Founded in 1945 and based in the market town of Bourne in Lincolnshire, it participated from 1951 to 1977, competing in 197 grands prix and winning seventeen. BRM won the constructors' title in 1962 when its driver Graham Hill became world champion. In 1963, 1964, 1965 and 1971, BRM came second in the constructors' competition.

"Once again Tony Marsh established himself in 1965 as "King of the Hills" by scoring Best Time of the Day at eight of the nine first championship climbs he entered, and setting new course records at Shelsley Walsh, Bouley Bay and Longleat. [2]

The Shelsley Walsh Speed Hill Climb is a hillclimb in Shelsley Walsh, Worcestershire, England, organised by the Midland Automobile Club (MAC). It is one of the oldest motorsport events in the world, and is in fact the oldest to have been staged continuously on its original course, first having been run in 1905. On that first occasion, the course was 992 yards in length, but in 1907 it was standardised at 1000 yards, the length it remains today.

Bouley Bay Hill Climb is a hillclimbing event held in Trinity, Jersey, and organised by The Jersey Motor Cycle and Light Car Club. The course on Les Charrières du Boulay was "first used for competition in 1921" and since 1947 has hosted a round of the British Hill Climb Championship. Bouley Bay and Val des Terres hill climb in Guernsey are normally held in July and provide a two-stop tour for UK drivers contesting the series.

After winning another hat-trick of championships between 1965 and 1967, Marsh sold his car and left motorsport to concentrate on his engineering and farming interests, but in 1986 he returned at the wheel of the March-based Rovercraft. In 1993, his co-driver Simon Law was killed in the car during the Brighton Speed Trials, a tragedy which affected Marsh considerably. [1] He returned with the ex-David Render Toleman TG191 Cosworth DFL, taking the Gurston Top Six title that year, aged 62. [3] He continued to compete in hillclimbs well into his seventies, driving on until 2008. [4]

Brighton Speed Trials

The Brighton Speed Trials, in full The Brighton National Speed Trials, is commonly held to be the oldest running motor race. The first race was held 19–22 July 1905 after Sir Harry Preston persuaded Brighton town council to tarmac the surface of the road adjacent to the beach between the Palace Pier and Black Rock to hold motor racing events. This stretch was renamed Madeira Drive in 1909 and the event is still held there, normally on the second Saturday of September each year. In 1936 Motor Sport described the event as: "undoubtedly the most important speed-trials on the British Calendar."

Toleman Motorsport was a Formula One constructor based in the UK. It was active between 1981 and 1985 and attended 70 Grands Prix.

The Gurston Down Speed Hill Climb is a hillclimb in Broad Chalke, Wiltshire, England, organised by the South Western Centre of the British Automobile Racing Club. The first practice meeting was held on 25 June 1967, when Patsy Burt, driving a McLaren-Oldsmobile set a time of 39.90 sec. The first competition event was held on 23 July 1967.

Marsh competed in circuit racing in his earlier years, driving in four Grands Prix, the last being the 1961 German Grand Prix in which he drove the Lotus 18 he also campaigned in hillclimbs. [1] He also drove in the 1960 Le Mans 24 Hours, sharing a Lotus Elite with John Wagstaff. [1]

1961 German Grand Prix Formula One motor race held in 1961

The 1961 German Grand Prix was the 23rd time the German Grand Prix motor race was held. The race also held the honorary designation of the 21st European Grand Prix. It was run to Formula One regulations as race 6 of 8 in both the 1961 World Championship of Drivers and the 1961 International Cup for Formula One Manufacturers It was held on 6 August 1961 over 15 laps of the giant 14.2 mile Nürburgring Nordschleife circuit for a race distance of almost 213 miles. The race also celebrated the 100th race since the establishment of the World Championship in 1950.

Lotus 18 racing automobile

The Lotus 18 was a race car designed by Colin Chapman for use by Lotus in Formula Junior, Formula Two, and Formula One.

1960 24 Hours of Le Mans

The 1960 24 Hours of Le Mans was the 28th 24 Hours of Le Mans Grand Prix of Endurance, and took place on 25 and 26 June 1960, on Circuit de la Sarthe. It was the fifth and final round of the F.I.A. World Sports Car Championship as well as being the fifth round of the inaugural FIA GT Cup. It was held just a week after the tragic Belgian F1 GP in which four drivers, including Stirling Moss were either killed or seriously injured. The prospect of a duel between the 3-litre (180 cu in) Ferrari versus the 2-litre (120 cu in) Porsche championship-leaders was enough to draw large crowds to the 24 Hours race and some 200,000 spectators had gathered for Europe's classic sports car race, around the 13.5 km (8.4 mi) course.

In 2007 Parley Books published his autobiography: Tony Marsh: The great all-rounder: In and out of motorsport. [5]

Autobiography biography written by the subject

An autobiography is a self-written account of the life of oneself. The word "autobiography" was first used deprecatingly by William Taylor in 1797 in the English periodical The Monthly Review, when he suggested the word as a hybrid, but condemned it as "pedantic". However, its next recorded use was in its present sense, by Robert Southey in 1809. Despite only being named early in the nineteenth century, first-person autobiographical writing originates in antiquity. Roy Pascal differentiates autobiography from the periodic self-reflective mode of journal or diary writing by noting that "[autobiography] is a review of a life from a particular moment in time, while the diary, however reflective it may be, moves through a series of moments in time". Autobiography thus takes stock of the autobiographer's life from the moment of composition. While biographers generally rely on a wide variety of documents and viewpoints, autobiography may be based entirely on the writer's memory. The memoir form is closely associated with autobiography but it tends, as Pascal claims, to focus less on the self and more on others during the autobiographer's review of his or her life.

Marsh was born in Stourbridge; he died aged 77 in May 2009 after having been admitted to hospital with breathing complications. [6]

Complete Formula One World Championship results


1957 Ridgeway Managements Cooper T43 F2 Climax Straight-4 ARG MON 500 FRA GBR GER
1958 Tony Marsh Cooper T45 F2 Climax Straight-4 ARG MON NED 500 BEL FRA GBR GER
1961 Tony Marsh Lotus 18 Climax Straight-4 MON NED BEL
Source: [7]

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  1. 1 2 3 4 5 Obituary (14 May 2009). Autosport , 88.
  2. Racing Car Show 1966, Official Catalogue and Guide, Page 11.
  3. Motoring News, 24 November 1993, Page 28.
  4. "Tony Marsh". Top 12 Runoff. Retrieved 8 May 2009.[ permanent dead link ]
  5. listing
  6. "Notice of Death - Tony Marsh". British Racing Drivers' Club. Archived from the original on 12 May 2009. Retrieved 8 May 2009.
  7. Small, Steve (1994). The Guinness Complete Grand Prix Who's Who. Guinness. p. 246. ISBN   0851127029.
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Ken Wharton
British Hill Climb Champion
Succeeded by
David Boshier-Jones
Preceded by
Peter Westbury
British Hill Climb Champion
Succeeded by
Peter Lawson