Gerry Marshall. The cigar-chomping racecar driver from the UK that was as prolific off the track as on it. Famed for taming (and dominating with) the legendary ‘Big Bertha’ Vauxhall Ventora amongst others, Gerry was reknowned for having the innate ability to jump into any car and win with it, albeit in a predominantly sideways, crowd-pleasing fashion.
A colourful, admired, respected and exuberant character within motorsport circles that often joked that he was ‘too old, too fat and too slow’ to race. Yet by the time the following short film was made in 1976, the then 35-year-old had racked up more than 120 victories and numerous class wins (He started racing in ’64 with a Mini – picture that one). His love and dedication to the sport was quite frankly, incredible. His racing career spanned 4 decades (!) and by the time of his shocking, heart-related on-track death in 2005 while testing Richard Petty’s IROC Camaro at Silverstone, he had racked up 625 race wins… Truly astounding.
I purchased a recently-released DVD from Duke Video called ‘Winning Ain’t Easy’ that focuses on three very different forms of motosport in 1975 (Drag, Super Saloon and Rally). As a bonus feature, it also includes this exact 21-minute short film from ’76 on the unstoppable Gerry Marshall, titled ‘There’s Only One Gerry’ featuring intimate footage and raw, on-board action from the era… (A favorite bit is when he’s commentating on his own lap) Highly recommended and worth a watch.