Curly Dryden
0/0/0 - 6/10/1951

Curly was an enthusiastic 500cc F3 driver who also raced at Le Mans. Renowned for his interesting hats, he was killed in an F3 race at Castle Coombe.

Curly Dryden died 70 years ago, he was 1951


Ronald Maura Dryden was born in Kibblesworth, near Newcastle-upon-Tyne. He was a farm machinery engineer, installing milking machines for Alfa Laval and married to a farmer's daughter, Maura Jones. When the war came Ron joined the Royal Air Force as a pilot. He was shot down over the North Sea and was awarded the Air Force Cross.

After the war he became the landlord of "The George and Dragon" in Dorchester near Henley on Thames, in Oxfordshire. It was at this point he took up racing and acquired his ironic nick-name "Curly" as he was quite bald after the shock of an accident years before the war. He was renowned for a series of interesting hats!

"Curly" was one of the first to place an order for the new production Cooper F3 car, the MkII, which he raced with some success, including second to Moss at Silverstone in May 1949 and a win at Goodwood.

"Curly" also competed at Le Mans in an MG. It was the first running of the race after the war, Curly teamed up with George Phillips but they were disqualified for receiving outside assistance, the guilty mechanic even being driven back to the pits in the car before it re-joined the race, with reports suggesting he was even waving to the crowd.

In 1948 he had a lucky escape while practicing for the races on the Isle on May in early May, when he failed to negotiate a corner on the Douglas-Onchan course and sumersaulted twice over a hedge, ending up trapped beneath the Cooper Special in a field. He only suffered cut and bruises though the Cooper was too badly damaged to race the following day.

Sadly, while racing a JBS in a 500cc F3 at Caste Combe in the last meeting of 1951, Curly overturned and sustained severe head injuries from which he died.

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