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The second-hand man



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Tony Trimmer


Melchester Racing McLaren-Cosworth M23


Brands Hatch


1978 British GP


A former Formula Ford spectacular and the 1970 British F3 champion and Monaco F3 support-race winner, Tony Trimmer never fulfilled on his promise. In a way the Roberto Moreno of his time, Tony got stuck in uncompetitive machinery and yet plugged on for more than a decade, up to the point he was embarrassingly stacking up his talent against sorry opposition in backyard championships.

Soon after his prestigious British title the ex-Frank Williams mechanic tried all sorts of cars, dividing his efforts between F Atlantic, F5000 and the occasional non-championship F1 drive. He first sat in an F1 chassis when he took an ancient works Lotus 49C to 6th in the 1971 Oulton Spring Cup. Trimmer's second acquaintance with an F1 car came in 1973, when Tony took over the remaining Connew chassis acquired by Swiss businessman Pierre Soukry, who had been campaigning the car unsuccessfully in F5000. Trimmer had the honour to knock the car into the barriers at Brands, damaging the illustrious monocoque beyond repair. The Connew fluke was followed by a similar F5000 debacle in the F1 Token rechristened Safir.

The Englishman then became involved in his first F1 World Championship experience but elected to go with the mysterious Japanese Maki outfit, which hit the tracks in 1974. The cars were a total disaster, however, with Howden Ganley unable to qualify the F101 at Brands and severely crashing out of a waning F1 career and into Tiga management with Tim Schenken. In 1975, the team returned with a revised car which did even worse, Hiroshi Fushida dead-last in practice for the Dutch and British GPs. Unwisely, Trimmer stepped into the dog from the 'Ring on, repeating Fushida's performance on three occasions. With F1 coming to Japan in 1976, the Brit agreed on sitting in the Maki one more time, unsurprisingly unable to break the three-year-old car's qualifying duck.

In the meantime Trimmer had been heavily involved in the burgeoning Shellsport "British F1" championship which in 1978 developed into the Aurora AFX Championship. In the first year of its running Trimmer turned into its strongest competitor, taking the inaugural championship by storm with five wins, including the first three rounds, despite taking part in only eight of the 13 races.

As in 1977, when his Melchester Racing team fielded the Shellsport-winning Surtees, he entered his home GP for a one-off with his Aurora-conquering McLaren M23. Against the world class opposition he was nowhere, however, again coming last.

As late as 1989, Trimmer was a surprise entrant to the British F3000 championship, even being called up to shake down a Brabham BT58 the very same year. Well into his fifties, Tony is still active in national racing, competing in the historic BOSS series and the Privilege Insurance British GT Championship.