Pond memories

Sir,

It was with great sorrow that my wife and I read of Tony Pond's death. In 1981, with co-driver Mike Nicholson, Tony drove the Dealer Team Vauxhall Chevette HSR developed and prepared at our Shepreth workshop.

In the years leading up to our 1981 season, we had kept an eye on him, and he on us. He had appreciated and admired our engines for some time (we had supplied him with 2.3-litre 16v engines for his Chevairs, campaigned in South Africa). When DTV were compelled to run only one car that year, and Tony was free to join us, we were delighted.

He soon became a great favourite of our staff and mechanics at Shepreth. He was always positive and mindful of our efforts to give him the best car and preparation to match his talents. He loved the HSR 'Plastic Fantastic' or 'Silver Rollerskate' as he preferred.

The combination of Tony, Mike and Chevette proved quickest that year, winning five internationals: the Scottish, the Manx, the West Cork and two televised Rallysprints, at Esgair Dafydd and Donington. That they missed out on the drivers' title was not due to them but to failures on the Mintex and Circuit of Ireland. However, they gave Vauxhall its first rallying Manufacturers' Award.

Tony was a true gentleman who was considerate to his mechanics, and who kept everyone motivated with his wonderful sense of humour. But once in the car, he was formidable. When Tony Pond put the hammer down few could keep up.

We mourn a very human and gifted man.

I am Yours etc, Bill Blydenstein, Buntingford, Herts