I was saddened to hear of the passing of Tony Dean. As a 15-year-old, I would pedal 25 miles to the then fairly new Croft Autodrome. I didn’t have much pocket money and survived on the odd Motor Sport magazine for glimpses of my sport, so those early motor racing meetings were eagerly awaited. One of my earliest events was a Croft clubbie and Tony had his beautiful maroon Formula 2 Brabham BT23C in action. In one of the famous Croft Libre races he saw off a squad of marauding Chevron B8s. I was hooked.
Tony then brought along the Porsche 908 he was to race in Can-Am and we followed his exploits across the pond. That famous win in the cheeky 908 against the mighty McLarens – magic. Then Tony got himself an M8D – a fabulous sight as he heaved it around Croft.
For me, his greatest achievement was on a scorching day in July 1973 at Croft. Tony brought the F5000 Chevron B24 for the Libre race. The hot windless conditions were just right and he did the unthinkable by being the first driver to do a 100mph lap at Croft. The Chevron was a brute of a car but it was a fabulous sight at my favourite corner, Tower Bend, as Tony tamed the beast.
Now my son and I stand on the Croft banking and I tell him about my heroes. They don’t make them like Tony Dean any more.
Paul Vickers, Redcar, Cleveland