Joe Fry (26 October 1915, Chipping Sodbury – 29 July 1950, Blandford Camp) was a British racing driver and distant member of the Fry's Chocolate family. He became the primary driver for the highly successful Shelsley Special "Freikaiserwagen", created by his cousin David Fry and Hugh Dunsterville, with help from Dick Caesar. The original car was built in Bristol in 1936 and featured an Anzani engine which was replaced in 1937 by a Blackburne engine. Joe set a number of hill records during the late 30s including an unofficial outright record at Prescott when he climbed in 47.62 seconds in the 1,100 c.c. Freikaiserwagen, on 27 August 1938. At the outbreak of World War Two he held both the blown and unblown 1,100 c.c. records at Shelsley Walsh Hill Climb in 41.52 and 42.58 seconds respectively.
Fry finished second in class, for racing cars up to 1,100 c.c., in the Freikaiserwagen at the Brighton Speed Trials in 1947. He drove the car to a class victory at Brighton the following year recording a faster time. He won the class again at Brighton in 1949 reducing his time yet again.
At Blandford hillclimb on 28 May 1949: "J.G. Fry made f.t.d. in the 650 lb., twin Marshall-blown V-twin Freikaiserwagen." His winning time was 31.13 seconds.
At Bouley Bay Hill Climb, Jersey, on 21 July 1949, Fry finished first in class but overall a runner-up to Sydney Allard, at which point Fry led the British Hill Climb Championship. At the final round at Prescott he was just one point behind Sydney Allard, but he had mechanical problems and slumped to fourth overall behind Allard, Poore and Moss in the final standings.
Fry was killed at the wheel of the Freikaiserwagen at the 1950 Blandford hillclimb, less than two months after driving a Maserati 4CL in the 1950 British Grand Prix at Silverstone. Raymond Mays said: "The death of Joe Fry, from injuries received while practicing for a Blandford hill-climb, was a great blow to me and to British motor sport in general."
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“Poetry is the language in which man explores his own amazement ... says heaven and earth in one word ... speaks of himself and his predicament as though for the first time. It has the virtue of being able to say twice as much as prose in half the time, and the drawback, if you do not give it your full attention, of seeming to say half as much in twice the time.”
—Christopher Fry (b. 1907)
“While we were thus engaged in the twilight, we heard faintly, from far down the stream, what sounded like two strokes of a woodchoppers axe, echoing dully through the grim solitude.... When we told Joe of this, he exclaimed, By George, Ill bet that was a moose! They make a noise like that. These sounds affected us strangely, and by their very resemblance to a familiar one, where they probably had so different an origin, enhanced the impression of solitude and wildness.”
—Henry David Thoreau (18171862)