The Club is sad to record the passing of long-term circuit commentator and inveterate motorsport enthusiast Tony Allen at the age of 87. Tony first became interested in Motor Sport during the late 1940’s after cycling with friends to Great Auclum and even Goodwood, all the way from his home in Woking.
Tony’s competition career started on grass with an Austin 7, followed by Stock Car Racing at Spedeworth, where he finished second in his first race. A Production car trial came next with Farnborough & District Motor Club which Tony beat Paddy Hopkirk to win outright and receive his trophy from F1 world champion Graham Hill. Tony was then asked by Willment Racing to drive their modified Ford Anglia 100E in an Autocross, winning his class. Grass track racing came next with an Anglia 105E, not only winning the class but this time, the championship! Hot Rod and Drag Racing followed which is where Tony met future wife Gill who was a class winner in drag racing herself.
In the late 1970s Tony moved to Pembrokeshire and became involved in local Autograss racing, meeting popular local commentator Richard ‘Dickie’ Davies and working with him at Classic and Vintage Shows. When Richard left Pembrokeshire Tony took over as local event commentator, but his work also included national venues including Brands Hatch, Thruxton, Cadwell Park and Pembrey. Ever versatile, Tony found himself commentating at tractor pulls, vintage fayres, truck shows, and even a 24hr Charity go kart race. Memorably, he commentated at Rockingham circuit’s inaugural race meeting alongside Ben Edwards, and successfully interrogated Nigel Mansell, Tiff Needell, Frank Sytner.
In the 1980s Richard Davies invited Tony to Castle Combe, and it wasn’t long before he was trawling the paddock seeking personalities to interview. He then joined David George in the Old Paddock commentary box before taking over Radio Castle Combe for a while before it closed. He continued as David George’s number 2 and during his time at Castle Combe Tony somehow managed to borrow Darrel Waltrip’s NASCAR race car for a few laps of the circuit.
For its first 10-years Tony and Gill worked at Goodwood alongside Neville Hay, Marcus Pye, Murray Walker, and Raymond Baxter. He always regarded himself privileged to have attended so many varied events and met so many fantastic people. From Drag Racing, Santa Pod to Bordeaux, F1 at Zandvoort, Spa, Zolder. Twenty-four-hour racing at Le Mans, plus the daunting Isle of Man TT. On water, Power Boat Racing at Bristol and Cardiff docks and the televised Rallysprint with Pembrokeshire Motor Club. For almost 20 years Tony was principal commentator at the spectacular speed hill climb at Llys y Fran country park.
Tony Allen recently said: “We have worked at Castle Combe for the last 40 years or so, and over that time we have only missed two meetings, one each due to being in hospital at different times. We have loved all we have done to help the club.”
Castle Combe Racing Club extends its condolences to Tony’s wife Gill and his family and many friends.