It is with great sadness that the Protyre Motorsport UK Asphalt Rally Championship has learned of the passing of its 12 time champion, John Price.
John started competing in 1965, but it was his domination of Britain’s premier asphalt rally series in the 1980s, ‘90s and early 2000s that marks him as a true champion of champions.
He first won the Asphalt title in 1984, driving a Renault 5 Maxi Turbo with Derrick Davies co-driving. He retained the title the following season in the same car, partnered by Mike Bowen.
His greatest successes came behind the wheel of a number of immaculately prepared Metro 6R4s – winning the title in 1988, ’89, ’91, ’92 and 1997 with Mike Bowen co-driving, and then again in 1998, 2000, ’04 and ’05 co-driven by his wife Caroline Price.
John was also joint Asphalt driver champion in 2002, sharing the award with Steve Hendy (Escort Cosworth).
But that is only the tip of his rallying achievements, as it’s hard to find a British or Irish asphalt rally that John hasn’t contested. In fact, he contested a total of 859 rallies over a remarkable 50 year career!
Some of his best performances, and hardest fought victories, came on Epynt. His astonishing record of 23 event wins over the famous mid-Wales military roads stood for almost 20 years, and was only equalled by six time Asphalt champion Damian Cole last year.
John’s last Asphalt Championship rally win came in Sligo in 2008, whilst his last appearance on a rally was when he drove the course opening zero car on the 2016 Mini Epynt Stages – flying a Metro 6R4 high over the jumps, just like he had done almost 30 years before.
In an emotional Facebook post, his son Stephen – himself an exceptionally talented rally driver back in the day – paid this heartfelt tribute to a true asphalt rally legend.
‘It is with much sadness that I have to inform you that the man some of you knew as JP or “The Boss” but to me he was Dad has passed away peacefully at home yesterday 21st April, surrounded by his family. He had fought a long, hard battle these past five years but just couldn’t fight anymore. As you all know rallying was his life and now he has completed his last stage. He was a loving husband to Caroline, a caring father to Stephen, Cathi, Kevin and Stephanie, Grandfather and Great Grandfather, and he will be greatly missed by us all.
‘We are extremely proud as a family of all his motorsport achievements and it has given us many memories to hold on to, he will never be forgotten.
‘As the great man said: “Give ‘em hell boy!!” and “Every dog has his day” – and you certainly had your fair share Dad.’
Owing to the current COVID-19 restrictions, John’s funeral will be a closed service for close family only. The family will arrange a memorial service to celebrate his life later in the year.