Cult heroes

Bill McGovern

The forgotten man among tin-top aristocracy, Bill McGovern deserves veneration if only for being the first driver to win the BTCC title three years on the trot. Starting out at Woburn hillclimb in a Vauxhall VX 4/90 in late 1963, he was resolutely trounced by a Mini Cooper S. So he went out and bought one of his own and took FTD at a Brands Hatch sprint a weekend later. A year on he entered his first race at Snetterton and came second: by 1966 he was spanking a Hillman Imp for Paul Emery while dabbling in single-seaters, but being a twenty-something with four daughters dampened his enthusiasm for the dangers of open-wheelers.

Then along came George Bevan and his trick Sunbeam Imp, with which McGovern won Britain’s premier saloon car series from 1970-72. Numerous incidents stopped him short from taking a fourth title a year on, while the Bevan VW Passat proved a tugger in ’74. Retiring at the end of the following year, McGovern made sporadic comebacks in the ’80s, running at the front in Modsaloons and Renault one-make series. RH