Obituary – Tony Rolt

Browse pages
Current page

1

Current page

2

Current page

3

Current page

4

Current page

5

Current page

6

Current page

7

Current page

8

Current page

9

Current page

10

Current page

11

Current page

12

Current page

13

Current page

14

Current page

15

Current page

16

Current page

17

Current page

18

Current page

19

Current page

20

Current page

21

Current page

22

Current page

23

Current page

24

Current page

25

Current page

26

Current page

27

Current page

28

Current page

29

Current page

30

Current page

31

Current page

32

Current page

33

Current page

34

Current page

35

Current page

36

Current page

37

Current page

38

Current page

39

Current page

40

Current page

41

Current page

42

Current page

43

Current page

44

Current page

45

Current page

46

Current page

47

Current page

48

Current page

49

Current page

50

Current page

51

Current page

52

Current page

53

Current page

54

Current page

55

Current page

56

Current page

57

Current page

58

Current page

59

Current page

60

Current page

61

Current page

62

Current page

63

Current page

64

Current page

65

Current page

66

Current page

67

Current page

68

Current page

69

Current page

70

Current page

71

Current page

72

Current page

73

Current page

74

Current page

75

Current page

76

Current page

77

Current page

78

Current page

79

Current page

80

Current page

81

Current page

82

Current page

83

Current page

84

Current page

85

Current page

86

Current page

87

Current page

88

Current page

89

Current page

90

Current page

91

Current page

92

Current page

93

Current page

94

Current page

95

Current page

96

Current page

97

Current page

98

Current page

99

Current page

100

Current page

101

Current page

102

Current page

103

Current page

104

Current page

105

Current page

106

Current page

107

Current page

108

Current page

109

Current page

110

Current page

111

Current page

112

Current page

113

Current page

114

Current page

115

Current page

116

Current page

117

Current page

118

Current page

119

Current page

120

Current page

121

Current page

122

Current page

123

Current page

124

Current page

125

Current page

126

Current page

127

Current page

128

Current page

129

Current page

130

Current page

131

Current page

132

Current page

133

Current page

134

Current page

135

Current page

136

Current page

137

Current page

138

Current page

139

Current page

140

Current page

141

Current page

142

Current page

143

Current page

144

Current page

145

Current page

146

Current page

147

Current page

148

Current page

149

Current page

150

Current page

151

Current page

152

Current page

153

Current page

154

Current page

155

Current page

156

Current page

157

Current page

158

Current page

159

Current page

160

Current page

161

Current page

162

Current page

163

Current page

164

Current page

165

Current page

166

Current page

167

Current page

168

Current page

169

Current page

170

Current page

171

Current page

172

Current page

173

Current page

174

Current page

175

Current page

176

Current page

177

Current page

178

Current page

179

Current page

180

Current page

181

Current page

182

Current page

183

Current page

184

Current page

185

Current page

186

Current page

187

Current page

188

Current page

189

Current page

190

Current page

191

Current page

192

Current page

193

Current page

194

Current page

195

(Major Anthony Peter Roylance Rolt, MC)

Le Mans 24 Hours winner, Grand Prix driver, decorated war veteran and true gentleman, Tony Rolt has died aged 89. Before the outbreak of WWII, Rolt was one of Britain’s most promising amateur drivers, racing one of the exotic Triumph Dolomites and winning the 1939 British Empire Trophy at Donington in ERA ‘Remus’. While competing in a minor Brooklands race, aged only 19, a bolt dropped from the ERA’s exhaust and flames engulfed his lap. Rolt removed his gloves, plugged the hole with one of them and went on to win the race. He was well known for being a keen and exceedingly quick competitor throughout his career.

In 1940 his unit, the Rifle Brigade, was sent to France to try and halt the German advance. Lieutenant Rolt was soon in the thick of the fighting, stalling the 10th Panzer Division’s move towards Dunkirk by holding them up for three days at Calais. He was awarded a Military Cross for his efforts. It was here that Rolt was taken prisoner for the first time. After seven escape attempts involving being dressed as a prison workman, a member of a visiting German general’s entourage and a German plumber who didn’t speak German, Rolt was sent to the maximum-security prison at Colditz. He spent many nights in an attic behind a fake wall working on the famous two-seater glider in order to escape, but the castle was liberated before the plan could be carried out. Rolt said that “escaping was not a game. Nor was it fun. It was a duty”.

Having returned from the war with a bar to his MC, Rolt started working with Freddy Dixon on a four-wheel drive system and together they formed Dixon Rolt Developments. With backing from Harry Ferguson tractors, the company later became FF Developments, engineering the first 4WD production car, the Jensen FF. The Ferguson P99 was another result, the only 4WD – and the last front-engined – car to win a Formula 1 race, and many GpB rally cars used FF technology.

It was after racing various machinery, including Alfa Romeos and Delages, and sharing a car with Peter Walker in the first F1 World Championship race at Silverstone that Rolt was offered a works drive with Jaguar. Rolt and Duncan Hamilton then won the Le Mans 24 Hours in 1953, driving a C-type Jaguar. The following year, in a D-type, the duo finished second both there and at the Reims 12 Hours. One of the last pre war racers and the oldest BRDC member, Tony Rolt and his dry sense of humour will be much missed.

You may also like

Related products