by Darren Banks and Kevin Guthrie
2021 review by Peter McFadyen
When Tom Pryce won the British Airways/Daily Mail Race of Champions at Brands Hatch on 16th March 1975 he became the first Welshman ever to win a Formula 1 race. It may have been a non-championship race but the quality of his achievement can be judged by the fact that the four places behind him at the finish were filled by John Watson, Ronnie Peterson, Jacky Ickx and Emerson Fittipaldi. The UOP Shadow driver was at the beginning of what would surely have been an extremely successful Grand Prix career but that promise was to be brutally ended just nine days short of two years later in the 1977 South African Grand Prix at Kyalami.
Pryce’s story and those of two more lost British talents, Roger Williamson and Tony Brise, have already been told in David Tremayne’s highly regarded book The Lost Generation but authors Darren Banks and Kevin Guthrie have taken a different approach and one which works extremely well. They interviewed more than sixty people who knew Tom personally from his early school days to his time as a leading Grand Prix driver. Rather than arranging the resultant wealth of information into a chronological story of their subject’s life and career as in a conventional biography, they have let each story speak for itself. The recollections of drivers, team principals, mechanics and journalists mingle in no particular order with those who describe themselves simply as fan, childhood friend or colleague. Naturally there is some overlap and repetition between their stories but this serves only to reinforce the picture which builds up of a naturally gifted but modest driver and well-liked human being. Tremayne acted as Editor of the book and wrote its introduction. The final chapter, as well as the book’s foreword, comes from Tom’s widow, Nella Pryce.
The book is illustrated throughout with a superb collection of photographs both professional and personal. All were contributed free and the high-quality printing and production, including Sarah Scrimshaw’s excellent design, have been supplied at cost by the publishers. The reason for this altruism is that profits raised by the book will go towards the £50,000 target of a fund to erect a statue in memory of Tom Pryce in his home town of Denbigh, North Wales. Whether as a contribution to this laudable goal or simply for the pleasure of a really good read, the book’s cover price of £35 seems modest indeed. The book is available directly from the publishers (see below) and also from Hortons Books (www.hortonsbooks.co.uk)
Publisher: Performance Publishing (https://www.performancepublishing.co.uk)
Price: £35.00 plus postage
Description: Hardback without dustjacket as published (270mm x 210mm), 168 pages. Illustrations in black & white and colour.