Marshal memories

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Sir,

It came as no surprise to hear and read of the crowd’s reaction to the spectacular saloon car race at the Goodwood Revival meeting in September. That Gerry Marshall won was only right and proper, and to be expected!

During the ten years that Gerry drove for our Dealer Team Vauxhall operation at Shepreth in Cambridgeshire in the 1970s he scored over one hundred outright victories in our special saloons, from 2.0 Viva GTs up to 5.0 V8 Firenzas. In the early days in ’68/69 Gerry struggled while we frantically developed our early Vauxhalls into race winners. We always prayed for rain in those days as it evened the odds with the highly-strung Fords and Coopers. Certainly, Gerry Marshall was the only driver of our rear-wheel-drive cars whose car control in wet conditions was able to regularly beat the more nimble front-drive Coopers. That the two master drivers John Rhodes and Marshall met head to head at Goodwood was obviously a bonus as they re-enacted those spectacular encounters of radically different cars not giving an inch in racing of the 1960s and ’70s.

Gerry Marshall had a huge following in those days. You either loved him or hated him, with the former in a big majority. Ford enthusiasts did not care for Gerry. They did respect him, however, and he was never ever dull, come rain, hail, snow or shine. One very enthusiastic supporter was (probably still is) Murray Walker. So much so that he chose as his entry for Great Sporting Moments a saloon car race at Crystal Palace in 1970 which Gerry won in the 2.3 S&K Viva.

Marshall starred in several films in the mid-70s. One such was “There’s only one Gerry!” Well, with nearly 40 years racing behind him and 600 victories that is as true as ever. There is still only one Gerry!

I AM, YOURS, ETC

Bill Blydenstein, Buntingford, Herts