Inside line -- Tony Marsh

Hillclimb legend on Shelsley

How long have you been competing at Shelsley Walsh?

I first competed at Shelsley in 1954. I’ve always said that at Prescott you’ve got to be neat and at Shelsley you’ve got to be a little bit brave and have some horsepower. If you do well, you go home satisfied. I don’t try to do it justice now. For me a 27second run is pleasing. In the ’60s we were getting close to 30 seconds.

How many times were you British Hillclimb champion?

I won the British series six times: in 1955-57 and again in 1965-67. After my 1967 championship I did a part-season, but then took 20 years off to go sailing.

What prompted your comeback?

Graham Galliers rang me up one day and said he wanted to rebuild the Marsh Special. After a couple of years he got it together and asked if I’d like to have a drive in it.  I said I’d love to drive it up Shelsley, but not to compete.  Eighteen years after last driving it, at the end of the first day back in the car I was hooked again!  That was in about 1987.

Had Shelsley changed at all during your break from the sport?

When I came back the cars had changed, but the hill was just the same if maybe not as bumpy. The atmosphere is just the same.

And now you own the ‘Special’ again

I bought the Marsh Special back again from Graham. I realised that it had become a bit special and these older cars want preserving. It’s a unique car. I built it from a bundle of tubes on the floor.