I cannot believe I will never hear again “what do you think of this, Tony?”. Tom’s incredible brain was always scheming – such drive and determination to achieve his goals. So much fun together, so many races, experiences and memories during the last 46 years – and countless gin and tonics on a Friday night in The Bell at Husband’s Bosworth. Having collected his 250F Maserati from the factory we returned via Monaco where he made his Lotus 18 available to Stirling Moss. Tom wanted to warm it up, so I gave him a push from Casino Square down to Mirabeau. It would not fire. Through the tunnel and by now on my knees I was still pushing at Tabac before he found the right switch…
We always liked to drive round a circuit in a road car. At Silverstone one year, after the GP, he was happy for me to drive the 300SL as I had had slightly fewer. As soon as the alcohol kicked in we were up to considerable speed. Abbey arrived very fast, but immediately after it barriers had been erected across the track. I braked, but as the car was still in the curve it went broadside, arriving just short of kissing the barriers. “Fantastic bit of driving,” said Tom. He thought it was intentional.
He usually had grandstand tickets for Grands Prix but not paddock passes, and it was always a challenge to enter, either walking confidently through the gates or vaulting fences. At Brands Hatch Tom did not appear after jumping the fence and I returned to find him stuck on the top complaining about his little legs and untangling his camera. I never made an appointment to see him and during any visit day or night he would give me 100 per cent attention, not accepting calls or interruptions so that we could talk motor racing until the early hours. Speaking to him recently he said “Donington has been a headache from Day One – but you’ve got to have a go, haven’t you?” Tom was fighting to the end.
I have lost a much loved, admired, lifelong friend who treated me like a son and will never be forgotten.
Tony Harrison, Alpes Maritimes, France