Today, October 30th marks the anniversary of Piers Weld-Forester’s death and 43 years since the second owner of the Unipower GT marque died.
Piers Edric Weld-Forester was the Grandson of the 5th Marquess of Ormonde, Equerry to the Queen, Escort to the Princess Anne, and it can be said that he enjoyed life very much to the full.
He bought into Unipower Cars around 1968 whilst still only 22-years old and was instrumental, some would say to the detriment of the production cars, in taking the marque into International Motorsport a year later with mixed results, not down to a lack of enthusiasm but usually preparation. Despite this, he would establish the diminutive sports car as a regular on grids both National and International and set the scene for owners to participate in many events going forward over the years.
Following the demise of Unipower Cars in early 1970, he began racing his GT40 road car in the Daytona 24hrs in 1970 partnered with Andrew Hedges achieving a 17th on a grid of 65 cars, which was pretty remarkable. In the race the car was retired with suspension failure after 299 laps.
In 1971 Piers obtained a motorcycle licence and won a long-distance rally, riding his Norton Commando from Paris to Iran. In 1973 he married Georgina Youens daughter of the Queen’s Chaplain, but very sadly after only a year of marriage, she perished in the 1974 Turkish Airlines DC-10 crash north of Paris.
It was after his wife's death that Piers took up motorcycle racing and became a regular in the Formula 750 World Championship, becoming great friends with Barry Sheene and Steve Parrish. Piers died whilst lying 5th in the ‘BRC’ Formula 750 race on the GP circuit at Brands Hatch on the 30th October 1977, having qualified fastest in practice, when he crashed exiting Clearways Bend.
Piers died at just 31-years of age and would be remembered for being a true Playboy, with many fantastic anecdotes proving testament to his exploits both on and off the track. His confrontations with authority being legend and he is still remembered with a smile by all who knew him at that time.