I had the pleasure of knowing Tony Pond during his time with the Dealer Opel Team, and I thoroughly endorse all that Bill Blydenstein has said regarding his way with co-workers.
Tony was a great one for the ladies, and although he had a company car from Opel, he would always insist on flying to our Yorkshire base from his home in Middlesex due to the fact that he had a ‘thing’ about ladies in uniform.
No air hostess was safe, and his wonderful charm was never to my knowledge rejected by any lady. On the occasions that we nominally shared a hotel room before a rally, I spent many a night on the couch in the hotel’s lounge.
My admiration for him as a driver stems from a Jim Clark Memorial Rally. At the Dealer Opel Team, we were under constant pressure from the hierarchy to do many things which, in their opinion, would be good publicity, but in our opinion, at the cutting edge and lean on budget, were a complete waste of time and money. On this occasion it was a journalist from one of popular papers of the day who had persuaded the bosses that he should sit alongside `Pondy’, despite having no previous navigational experience.
The initial stage was a couple of laps of a disused airfield. As Tony completed his laps he flashed his lights and waved out of the window. My colleague and I worriedly raced towards him as he slid to a stop, and Tony pointed to his co-driver: he had turned `Kermit’ green and was vomiting.
We weren’t allowed to change personnel so we laid the seat down, strapped the joumo in tight, and Tony went on to complete the rally doing his own navigating as well as driving. He still finished second.
One of many happy memories of one of the good guys.
I am, Yours etc, Nigel Newton-Goode, Gizeux, France
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