Remembering Tom Pryce

© Cahier Archive

© Cahier Archive

It was on March 5 1977 that a bizarre and terrible crash in the South African Grand Prix claimed the life of Welsh Formula One driver Tom Pryce, who was just 27 years old at the time

Pryce came over a hill crest to find a teenage marshall named Jansen van Vuuren running across the track in a bid to tackle a fire that had broken out on the car of Pryce's team mate Renzo Zorzi.

The young marshall was hit by the car at 160mph and died instantly; Pryce was struck on the head by the heavy fire extinguisher van Vuuren had been carrying and he, too, died instantly. His out-of-control car went on to collect Jacques Laffites' Ligier before ending up in the catchfence.

"Tom was possessed of a huge talent," said former Formula One driver John Watson, who remembered Pryce as totally down-to-earth and unaffected by the globe-trotting, jet-setting lifestyle of the sport.

"I remember one time having dinner in Italy, and what Tom wanted was chicken and chips. And there in Italy you had the choice of the most incredible food - but that was all he wanted."

This is a picture of Tom in happier days, two years previously. He's celebrating winning pole position for Shadow at his home event, the British Grand Prix at Brands Hatch on July 18, 1975.