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United Kingdom Joe Fry

Races: 1

1950United Kingdom Brian Shawe-Taylor Maserati   Maserati 4CLT 1.5 L4s 4CL 

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By Jeremy McMullen

It is said that women have a weakness for chocolate and that it brings comfort and pleasure. It is also said that behind any good man is a great woman. It would seem then there were many great women behind Joe Fry's motor-racing career. As a member of the Fry Chocolate family, Joe spent his time honing his racing skills, alongside his cousin David, instead of working in the family business. In time, Joe became one of the bright stars in Britain's motor racing scene. Joe, and his cousin David, caused the name Fry to be even more synonymous with motoracing as with chocolate.

Born in Chipping Sodbury in 1915, Fry, by his early twenties, was setting many hillclimbing records in the highly successful 'Freikaiserwagen' that David Fry co-created with Hugh Dunsterville. This car was noteworthy in that it was the first rear-engined car created and raced in hillclimbing events. Fry didn't just compete in the 'Freikaiserwagen'. Joe would race events in various other cars like the 4.5 liter Bugatti and Type 55 Bugatti. However, the combination of Fry and 'Freikaiserwagen' seemed to prove special. While developed further by David, the 'Freikaiserwagen', in the hands of cousin Joe, would enjoy abundant success in sprint and hillclimbing races. In the short run up to the second world war Joe and the 'Freikaiserwagen' set a number of hill records and a number of unofficial outright records, including one at Prescott.

At the outbreak of world war two, Fry would remain at the top of the record sheets in both the blown and un-blown categories at the Shelsley Walsh Hill Climb. After the end of the war and the resumption of racing, Fry picked up pretty much where he left off. In 1947, He would end up finishing second in class at the Brighton Speed Trials, but the next year would take the class victory. Fry would also take the class victory at Brighton again the following year.

1949 was a breakthrough year for Joe, if he hadn't already proved himself in hillclimbs and sprint races. In a reconstructed 'Freikaiserwagen', Fry set a brand new hill record at Shelsley Walsh. At the Blandford hillclimb, Joe would end up setting the fastest and winning time of the day at 31.13 seconds. Fry's second-place finish at the Bouley Bay Hill Climb in Jersey meant that he took the lead in the British Hill Climb Championship. Unfortunately, mechanical problems in following events would lead to Fry slipping to fourth overall in the 1949 championship.

All of this success and talent made Joe an obvious choice when it came to who would compete at the first event of Formula One's inaugural season, especially seeing that it would all begin at Silverstone in England. At the first race of Formula One's beginning, Joe Fry brought his own Maserati 4CL. Despite being a 4CL, Fry's Maserati was not the newer 4CLT, and it showed in qualifying. Despite all of the sprint and hillclimbing records, the best Fry could do was 20th on the starting grid, some 16 seconds off the qualifying time of Giuseppe Farina and his Alfa Romeo.The race, however, fared better for Fry, who would co-drive his car with Brian Shawe-Taylor. Fry completed the first 45 laps, and then, turned the car over to Shawe-Taylor for what ended up being the remaining 19 laps. It was a 70 lap event, but Fry and Shawe-Taylor ended the race some 6 laps down. However, Fry and Shawe-Taylor finished the race, which is more than can be said for many other entries. Despite being the second-to-last running car on the track, Fry and Shawe-Taylor ended up the race coming home in 10th. Though they didn't score any points, they could brag about the fact they ended up the first race faring better then the eventual 5-time world champion Juan Manuel Fangio.

The descent finish at Silverstone, and all of his past records, meant that Fry was one of Britain's hopes for the future. However, it all came to a premature end just a couple of months after the Silverstone Grand Prix at the hillclimbing event at Blandford. Fry died in an accident behind the wheel of his 'Freikaiserwagen' during the event. There were so many things on the horizon for Fry that ended up coming to naught because of his death.

Fry, besides his own racing career, was investing in a new car design called the Gordano. The Gordano was intended to be designed with a 4 cylinder 1.5 liter engine with a chassis designed by Dick Caesar. Fry's death led to the project being scrapped and forever abandoned.
19504CLMaserati 4CLT 1.5 L4s

It is believed that too much of a good thing is actually unhealthy. The same is believed to be true concerning too much chocolate in one's diet. Despite beginnings in chocolate, Joe Fry developed a whole new successful family business in auto-racing. It appeared this business was on the verge of becoming a thriving enterprise, but like chocolate, too much diet of speed and danger ended up catching up to Joe Fry. Unfortunately, the very business Fry showed promise forever brought his career to an end.

500 Race contributors. 'Joe Fry.' The 500 Owners Association, Web. 13 Apr. 2010

Stowe, Peter. 'Motorsport in the Bristol Area.' Motorsport History; Some of My Special Interests,
Web. 13 Apr. 2010.

Wikipedia contributors. 'Joe Fry.' Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 5 Apr. 2010. Web. 13 Apr. 2010.
Formula One World Drivers' Champions
1950 G. Farina
1951 J. Fangio
1952 A. Ascari
1953 A. Ascari
1954 J. Fangio
1955 J. Fangio
1956 J. Fangio
1957 J. Fangio
1958 M. Hawthorn
1959 S. Brabham
1960 S. Brabham
1961 P. Hill, Jr
1962 N. Hill
1963 J. Clark, Jr.
1964 J. Surtees
1965 J. Clark, Jr.
1966 S. Brabham
1967 D. Hulme
1968 N. Hill
1969 S. Stewart
1970 K. Rindt
1971 S. Stewart
1972 E. Fittipaldi
1973 S. Stewart
1974 E. Fittipaldi
1975 A. Lauda
1976 J. Hunt
1977 A. Lauda
1978 M. Andretti
1979 J. Scheckter
1980 A. Jones
1981 N. Piquet
1982 K. Rosberg
1983 N. Piquet
1984 A. Lauda
1985 A. Prost
1986 A. Prost
1987 N. Piquet
1988 A. Senna
1989 A. Prost
1990 A. Senna
1991 A. Senna
1992 N. Mansell
1993 A. Prost
1994 M. Schumacher
1995 M. Schumacher
1996 D. Hill
1997 J. Villeneuve
1998 M. Hakkinen
1999 M. Hakkinen
2000 M. Schumacher
2001 M. Schumacher
2002 M. Schumacher
2003 M. Schumacher
2004 M. Schumacher
2005 F. Alonso
2006 F. Alonso
2007 K. Raikkonen
2008 L. Hamilton
2009 J. Button
2010 S. Vettel
2011 S. Vettel
2012 S. Vettel
2013 S. Vettel
2014 L. Hamilton
2015 L. Hamilton
2016 N. Rosberg
2017 L. Hamilton
2018 L. Hamilton
2019 L. Hamilton

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