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Page last updated at 15:05 GMT, Thursday, 21 May 2009 16:05 UK

Joe Tandy 1983-2009

By Bob Bull
BBC Three Counties Radio

Joe Tandy
Tandy was just 26 when he died

The death of 26-year-old Joe Tandy in a car accident last week has robbed the sport of one of its brightest emerging talents.

Joe was the founder and driving force of Joe Tandy Racing based in Bedford, who run cars in Formula Ford and in the British Formula 3 Championship, most notably for Joe's young brother Nick, currently lying second in the F3 series.

Joe started racing himself at the age of 11, driving in Short Oval Ministocks, winning the Championship in 1998 at the age of 15, before moving on to Mini Se7en's with moderate success.

After completing an engineering apprenticeship and working for Palmersport at Thurleigh, Joe got the chance to test one of the 350bhp Formula Palmer Audi cars, he was hooked and sold his Mini to raise the budget to contest the FPA Championship in 2005, taking six victories on his way to the title in his first year.

I never saw Joe when he was not smiling, always happy to talk about his brother to Three Counties Radio, never himself

Lacking the funds to continue his own racing, Joe set up JTR to further brother Nick's career, bringing all of his formidable engineering skills to the job, and they soon started to make their mark in Formula Ford with a number of firsts before moving in to Formula 3 in 2008.

Following a successful learning year in the series they started 2009 with a French Mygale car with which to challenge the almost compulsory Italian Dallara used by all of the top teams, a move that sees Nick well in the hunt for the title. The team have vowed to carry on, as Joe would have wished.

I never saw Joe when he was not smiling, always happy to talk about his brother to BBC Three Counties Radio, never himself, he was a very talented driver and a superb engineer and will be very sadly missed around the paddock, by all who knew him.

To his mother and father, brother Nick, girlfriend Sophie, all of his friends and team members we offer our sincere condolences.

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