Tony Marsh left nothing to chance during his long motor racing career. Indeed, he tried the whole gamut the sport had to offer from trials to sprints, rallies to racing. In fact, all forms of 4-wheeled competition came under his radar at some time during his career. He excelled, however, on the hills, becoming British hillclimb champion on a record six occasions, first in 1955, ’56, and ’57 in a Cooper JAP MkVIII, and then 1965, ’66, and ’67 in his own Marsh Special.
In 1960, together with John Wagstaff, he won the Le Mans Index of Thermal Efficiency in a Lotus Elite, finishing 14th overall. It was his first visit to the Sarthe and always remained a highlight of his career.
I spoke to him a couple of years ago at Shelsley Walsh when he recalled a great day for him on the hill in 1961, “I remember driving a BRM P48 up the hill here. I had only sat in the car for the first time on the morning of practice, no proper seat fitting or anything, and during the course of the weekend I broke the record four times.” Later that year in the same BRM P48, he won the Lewis-Evans Trophy at Brands Hatch, the first race win by a privateer owner of a BRM.
He entered five Grand Prix events, the first at the Nürburgring in an F2 Cooper T43-Climax entered by Ridgeway Managements, where he was “mixing it” with the best: Fangio, Moss, Hawthorn, Collins, etc. He finished 4th in class and 15th overall. The following year he returned in his privately owned and entered F2 Cooper T45-Climax, again finishing 4th in class. In 1961, he entered the Belgian, British, and German Grands Prix in a Lotus 18-Climax.
After the flurry of motor racing events in the fifties and sixties Marsh turned his back on the sport in the seventies to concentrate on other things. In 1986, he returned to the hills and became a regular at events until quite recently. Although a fierce competitor, he was a true gentleman and a figure who will be sorely missed.