Tony Marsh

20/7/1931 - 7/5/2009

Tony Marsh
British hillclimb ace who raced Lotus and BRM in the World Drivers Championship when it was run to F2 regs. Tony Marsh died 13 years ago, he was 78 , He would have been 91.

Anthony Ernest "Tony" Marsh was born in Stourbridge, England. A hillclimb specialist, he also raced in trials, sprints and rallies. In the early fifties he won his first three RAC hillclimb championships at the wheel of the ex-Collins Cooper.

In 1957 he bought a Formula 2 Cooper, which he drove to geat effect in Libre events at home and abroad, making his debut in the German GP, finishing fourth in the F2 class. Over the next three seasons Marsh opted to drive in races where he had a good chance of winning and in 1960 he took victory in the Lewis-Evans Trophy at Brands Hatch.

In 1961 Tony aquired a Lotus 18, which he drove in Grands Prix and hill-climbs, winning five of the six events he entered, but despite a third on aggregate in the Brussels GP he dropped it in favour of a BRM, winning the Lewis-Evans Trophy again (BRM's only win that year).

In 1962 he planned a season with a works run BRM but suffered problems with cracked gearboxes bell housings and cylinder blocks. Marsh felt that the machine was so bad that he took legal action against the Bourne company.

Marsh returned to the hills, winning another three hillclimb Championships at the wheel of his own 4.3-litre Marsh-Oldsmobile special. He continued to compete regularly in top-class hillclimbs into his seventies.

In 1967 he was hired to do some incar work for a Suncrush squash commercial to be filmed at Goodwood. Being a local man he was hired along with his Marsh Special. The idea was to attach an intrepid cameraman to the nose of his car, start with a shot of the track streaming away beneath the rear wheels and slowly pan up to the drivers face. Rests were installed for the camerman's elbows and Tony suggested a dummy run without the camera first just to check that it was safe. He accelerated away without incident but at the first corner the cameraman's eyes went wide as he started to rotate towards the front wheels. Fortunately Tony reached out and grabbed him before he sustained any injuries. The shots were eventually taken at lower speed on the straight.

Tony is the Chairman of a Petersfield-based engineering company.


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