John Price 1944 -2020

For 28 years, 1980-2008, John Price was a prolific rally driver and winner on an almost industrial scale, to the extent that the statistics would warrant his entry in the Guinness Book of Records. This remarkable route to success started on the family farm at Howey near Llandrindod Wells on 23rd October 1944 and elder brother Denzil, aka 'The Bishop', was an active rally competitor himself with two 1960s Monte Carlo Rally starts on his CV and also a well-known RAC Scrutineer.

First in 1965, John started circuit racing, successfully using a self-prepared 999cc Cooper S in saloon car racing at all the southern UK circuits before changing tack in 1968 and entered his first rally in a 1300 Escort. This change of discipline suited John and he quickly moved on to compete in premier road events, including the prestigious Motoring News Road rally championship.

A time-served mechanic by profession, in 1975 John opened a garage business in Wormbridge near Hereford initially doing general servicing but it soon became a renowned rally preparation and rally hire company. He had previously run a garage in Swansea with Denzil and in 1970, helped build Bill Bengry's famous World Cup Rolls Royce which competed in the Daily Mail supported marathon.

John?s choice of rally cars was truly European. Two Porsche 911s, including 2.8 RS Carrera and SC variants, Simca 1000 Rallye, BMW M3, Renault 17 Gordini and 21 Turbo models, Renault Alpine A110, before acquiring the cars in which he thrived and made his name. In 1981, his first R5 Turbo 1, later upgrading to a couple of Turbo 2s' and in 1986, the first of four 6R4 MG Metros'.

Whilst best known for tarmac rallying, John also competed on a couple of RAC and Welsh International forest rallies. He contested the 1983 Monte Carlo rally and Barum in Czechoslovakia and Haspengoew in Belgium twice each. He was an extremely popular regular on Irish events and must have been on the Pembroke to Cork Ferry in excess of 150 occasions.

He won the British National championship an unprecedented 12 times and became a well-known Epynt Meister, winning 22 events outright and scoring many more podium positions on the daunting ranges. Amazingly, it is estimated that in his successful career, John started almost 800 rallies, often two or more on the same weekend but sometimes different parts of the country.

The perfect example of this was Epynt August Bank holiday weekend 25-27 August 1990, with Mike Bowen on the notes. Day 1 yielded 2nd overall on the Virgo Galaxy. Day 2 and a step higher with 1st overall on the Harry Flatters. Then, back to his Hereford workshop for a quick Metro 6R4 engine change before Day 3, second overall on the Mewla Rally. In addition, on two of these three events the John Price Rally Team ran a second car for a customer!

Throughout his career, John's fast, neat, and safe driving style was complimented by the immaculate presentation and reliability of his cars and he always claimed that an event was won in the workshop prior to the start. Indeed, to watch JP drive at a winning pace over the narrow and uncompromising roads of Ireland or the Isle of Mann was to watch a master-craftsman plying his trade. Over his career, more than 30 top-line co-drivers accompanied him, and his faithful sponsors included Duckhams and Zenith Motorsport Swansea, with Zenith's Mike Bowen winning many rallies and championships as one of his regular co-drivers.

John had been ill for about 5 years and passed away peacefully at home on 21st April. We extend our condolences to his wife Caroline, who was also one of his regular co-drivers and his children, Stephen - who continues the John Price Rallying legacy at Wormbridge - Cathi, Kevin and Stephanie, who is employed by Mercedes F1.

4th May, 2020