TOM PRYCE’S 40TH ANNIVERSARY REMEMBERED
The memorial to Tom Pryce that sits in Otford Parish Church – Photo: BRSCC
This past weekend saw the memorial of the passing of Welsh Grand Prix driver Tom Pryce, who sadly lost his life 40 years ago on March 5th 1977. The memorial took place at Otford Parish Church on Sunday afternoon.
Tom began his racing career in Formula Ford in 1969 and after a steady progression through the ranks of Formula Vee, Formula 3 and Formula Atlantic, he made his much anticipated F1 debut in 1974 with the Token team. Qualifying for his first race at the Belgian Grand Prix that year, it wasn't long before the talented Welshman was snapped up by the Shadow team for the rest of the season.
He would remain at the team across the next 3 seasons until his untimely death at the 1977 South African Grand Prix at Kyalami. Within that period, Pryce was able to make a significant impact as he took his Shadow to 5 points finishes in 1975 including his first podium at a rain-soaked Austrian Grand Prix that only awarded half points after being stopped less than 30 laps in. A second rostrum visit came in Brazil at the beginning of the 1976 season before a string of top 10 finishes marked him out as a beacon of consistency.
Pryce's season hadn't started smoothly in 1977 with retirement in the first two rounds before his tragic accident at Kyalami. Nevertheless, he was a driver that was greatly admired by many who knew him and had he been given a seat with a top team, could have at least become a regular race winner or even a potential World Champion.
His memorial on Sunday was attended by the BRSCC Chairman Bernard Cottrell and our very own "Voice of Brands Hatch" Brian Jones among many, including friend and former BTCC racer Karl Jones.