Historic racing veteran Andy Newall gets dream come true of driving hero Gerry Marshall's 5-litre V8-engined Vauxhall Firenza
Experienced historic racer and engineer Andy Newall says the chance to race Gerry Marshall’s Baby Bertha super saloon is a dream come true.
Newall will race the 5-litre V8-powered Vauxhall Firenza in the Special Saloons and Modsports races at Brands Hatch this weekend. The unique 1974 car will be on loan from its owner Joe Ward.
'Gerry was always my hero and to drive Baby Bertha is a dream: it’s a big life tick,' said Newall, who has raced sports and GT cars, including a Can-Am McLaren M8F, across Europe and in Australia. 'I used to do BMW customer days with Gerry at Donington Park. He was such a character.'
Newall got the chance to race the iconic Vauxhall after sharing the driving of Ward’s TVR Grantura in the GT and Sports Car Cup race at the Donington Historic Festival in May. 'I’ve tested it at Donington and I’ve watched all the videos to see how Gerry drove it,' said Newall. 'It is such an unbelievable car to drive.'
Baby Bertha was built for the 1974 season after a V8-engined Ventora super saloon, nicknamed Big Bertha, was badly damaged at Silverstone. Key parts were built into the Firenza project and in Marshall’s hands the car became one of the UK’s best-loved race cars.
In three years and more than 40 races, Baby Bertha retired only twice and was beaten once. The project was curtailed at the end of 1978 and Baby Bertha had various owners before Ward bought it and restored it to immaculate period trim.
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March single-seater back after 25 years
The Formula Atlantic March 722 first raced by John Calvert has returned to competition this summer after a sabbatical of at least 25 years.
Racing newcomer Daniel Clayfield is the new owner of the 1972 single-seater and raced it for the first time at Brands Hatch earlier this month.
After Calvert contested the British Formula Atlantic Championship, the car moved to hillclimbs for many years but was then stored until Clayfield found it and bought the car.
'We bought it as a project,' said Clayfield who has previously raced motocross, quads and karts. 'It was a big project to get it ready and Neil Fowler Motorsport has done a great job.'
After racing Historic FF2000s to get licence upgrading signatures, Clayfield aims to join the Historic F2 grid at Zandvoort at the end of August ahead of a full season next year.
Bullock switches cars to win Baltic Tour
Australian racer Marty Bullock won the recent Baltic sector of the Formula Junior Diamond Jubilee World Tour, but only after a dash back to the UK to change cars.
The weekend before the three-weekend tour of Lithuania, Latvia and Sweden, Bullock was racing his Lotus 27 in Zolder, Belgium, when it was damaged in a startline accident.
His plan had been to head east from Zolder but instead Bullock rushed back to his temporary UK base and loaded up his rare Wren instead. After a quick engine change, he headed back across the channel for the trek to Lithuania.
He duly finished all seven races in the Baltic States to claim the Curt Lincoln Trophy.
F5000s head to Mondello 50th
The Derek Bell Trophy will play a leading role in the Irish Historic Racing Festival, which marks 50 years of Mondello Park (August 18/19).
As well as celebrating the Irish circuit’s half century, the event will also be a celebration of the life of Mondello Park owner Martin Birrane who died in early June aged 82. Birrane was also the owner of Lola from 1997 until 2012, so the presence of several Lolas in the entry has an added significance.
'The weekend will now be a celebration of Martin Birrane’s life as well as Mondello Park,' said HSCC Chairman and Formula 5000 racer Frank Lyons. 'Martin had been putting a lot of effort into the event.'
Gibney acquires long sought-after Chevron B8
Historic single-seater racer Frazer Gibney has joined the ranks of Chevron B8 owners after acquiring the ex-Peter Crossley car from Belgium. Former owners include Richard Arnold and Gibney now plans a mix of races, including the dedicated B8 50th anniversary race at the Oulton Park Gold Cup in August. 'I’ve always wanted one,' said Gibney.
Oliver Ford to race Elan after two-year project
Former 70s Road Sports champion Oliver Ford has moved to a Lotus Elan in the Guards Trophy this season. Ford has not raced for two years in order to fund the Elan which was built by his father Ian from a tired road car. 'It’s been a massive project,' said Oliver, who works in Singapore and commutes home to race.
E-type ace Thomas adds a Chevron B8
Jaguar E-type ace Justin Thomas had added a Chevron B8 to his stable and is taking in a mix of races this season in the ex-David Smithies car. 'I absolutely love it. It is still a work in progress and it is totally different to everything else I’ve driven,' said Thomas, who learnt his race craft in the Fun Cup.
HSCC looks for historic rallying Ford Escorts
The HSCC has issued an invitation for significant rallying Ford Escorts with a nice history to be part of the 50th anniversary event at Brands Hatch on September 23. Two races will be open to a range of race-prepared Escorts running to period specifications and the Club is keen to attract some period rally cars. Car owners are asked to contact Alan Jones via email@example.com.
HSCC Road Sports capacity grids at Silverstone Classic
The twin HSCC Road Sports categories will deliver a capacity grid of 58 cars for a high-profile race at the Silverstone Classic (July 20-22). The entry comprises 29 cars from each category, plus a further 15 reserves. The race will also mark the 50th year of the Morgan Plus 8, with as many as nine Plus 8s in action.
Mitchell calls time on campaign for New Zealand move
Historic Formula Ford racer Sam Mitchell has called time on his 2018 campaign in order to start a new job in New Zealand. Former champion Mitchell, younger brother of current title leader Ben, is due to leave the UK this month for the new job in Auckland, which may lead to working in China. He still hopes to fly home to race his family’s Merlyn Mk20 from time to time.
John Miles Lotus 41X raced for first time in half century
The ex-John Miles Lotus 41X Historic F3 car raced in the UK for the first time in 50 years when Enrico Spaggiari tackled the HF3 races at Brands Hatch 10 days ago. Simon Hadfield, who was involved in the restoration, tested the car at Donington recently. 'John Miles was one of my heroes and the car is absolutely brilliant,' said Hadfield.
Pictures courtesy of Paul Lawrence