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Sad news; Gerry Marshall RIP

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#1 swintex

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Posted 21 April 2005 - 18:56

I just saw this sad news on Autosport-Atlas :(


#2 ensign14

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Posted 21 April 2005 - 19:09



I remember at Goodwood last year a girl beaming cos she had managed to get Gerry's autograph after missing him the previous year...so glad she got it now. Funny, the stupid things you remember at times like this.

I bet Lanfranchi and he have got Jesus brahms by now.

#3 Gary C

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Posted 21 April 2005 - 19:16

Veyr sad news indeed. (PS.that link doesn't work if you're not a member)

#4 MCS

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Posted 21 April 2005 - 19:47

Oh, dear, what a great shame.

In certain circles he didn't have the very best of reputations - maybe because he was so straight, direct and honest. But by the same token, I'm not aware of any detractors.

I (and I hardly knew him at all) can only remember his generosity and kindness.

The first time I saw him race - a special saloon event at Oulton Park in those wonderful Vauxhall days - he slipped up at Old Hall on the first lap causing a fair bit of commotion behind. Realising his car was out of action he stormed out of his car and beat even the marshals in pushing a Mini back into the race! His determination was quite incredible. True sportsmanship.

He was very, very quick and I've always wondered how he would have fared in a big, powerful single-seater like a F5000 car. He wasn't a fan of single-seaters though - even less so (and understandably) when his business partner John Wingfield was tragically killed at Thruxton in his Ralt RT1. Had he been of a slighter frame I'm sure he would have been occasionally tempted though.

God bless Big Man. You'll certainly be missed.


#5 swintex

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Posted 21 April 2005 - 20:13

From Autosport-Atlas

British racing legend Gerry Marshall has died today, at the age of 63. Marshall was testing at Silverstone, when he pulled over, feeling unwell.

Originally posted by ensign14

I bet Lanfranchi and he have got Jesus brahms by now.

The mind boggles at the thought of a sort of heavenly Kentagon

#6 D-Type

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Posted 21 April 2005 - 20:19

Originally posted by swintex
The mind boggles at the thought of a sort of heavenly Kentagon

I think that is the way that both Gerry and Tony would like us to think of them.

#7 Ted Walker

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Posted 21 April 2005 - 20:22

As one chap I was talking to today at Silverstone said "it should be a huge p..s up after the funeral"

#8 petefenelon

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Posted 21 April 2005 - 20:36

Tragic news, a great driver, a great character and more important than that a great sportsman. Still, at least Gerry was doing what he loved right up to the end.

I don't think anyone who was around British motorsport in any capacity - competitor, entrant, spectator, whatever from the 60s to the present can fail to be touched by Gerry's death. He was everything that I loved about the sport - larger than life, loved competing, loved cars and driving, loved the apres-ski;)

I remember at Coys a few years back Gerry got a bigger cheer than many World Champions - he was someone everyone felt they knew, and someone almost everyone felt an immense warmth towards.

RIP Gerry, I hope Tony's got a pint in for you.

#9 Richard Jenkins

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Posted 21 April 2005 - 20:39

A true legend - he will be hugely missed. :cry:

#10 ghinzani

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Posted 21 April 2005 - 20:53

As someone rightly reminded us over on ten-tenths he was "only here for the beer"
An absolute star, such great entertainment on and off the track. Met him once and he had us enthralled at the bar at the bottom of paddock at Brands. Its an oft used phrase , but they dont make 'em like Gerry no more - mores the shame!

Heres to you and going sideways Gerry!

#11 Adrian Camp

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Posted 21 April 2005 - 21:04

What a sad day for British motorsport with the news of Gerry Marshalls death.

I first saw him race at Silverstone the day he wrote off Big Bertha. I have been a fan of his ever since, from the Old Nail, Baby Bertha through various other Vauxhalls up to his historic days.

I shall always remember him for power sliding Baby Bertha through Woodcote and various other sideways antics, but that was the only style he knew. A true entertainer.

Lanfranchi and Marshall, a partnership made for heaven, just hope no ones teetotal up there!

#12 MPea3

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Posted 21 April 2005 - 21:06

Speed showed a program the other week on the Vauxhall racing program. As I knew nothing about Gerry Marshall, I have to say I was a bit shocked when they talked about having him as their driver and then showed this picture of this quite large and rather old looking guy. Talk about a shocker. While he certainly was never going to model driver's suits, the in-car stuff from at Oulton Park was great. His determination and skill really showed, and the accompanying narration was equally as good.

#13 Andrew Kitson

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Posted 21 April 2005 - 21:44

Such terribly sad news. Another hero lost. In recent months Gerry himself has lost close friends in Tony Lanfranchi and Mike Bennion. He has been such a large part of my life. As a kid my father was a mechanic on cars that were always up against Gerry's DTV cars and later he was a joy to watch in Big and Baby Bertha. Everybody in the paddock made sure they went to watch the Supersaloons, mainly to see 'sideways' Gerry. So many stories - a legend. Here are my own memories of the big man in the painting I did that was presented to him by the Formula Saloons Club. A joy to paint thinking of he excitement he gave us on the race track. RIP Gerald Dallas Royston Marshall.

Posted Image

#14 Doug Nye

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Posted 21 April 2005 - 22:35

Godspeed big feller ... from all at Goodwood I am sure, where you performed so superbly...


#15 Keir

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Posted 21 April 2005 - 22:44

To the "tin top" king, Godspeed !!

#16 green-blood

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Posted 21 April 2005 - 23:09

OH NO, a truely great entertainer, he was always the highlight of my few trips accross to GB.. I'm sure by Sunday of goodwood he was knackered and fed up with pesky public, but he showed me around the touring car... a huge loss.

#17 Alan Lewis

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Posted 21 April 2005 - 23:16

Very sad, particularly so soon after Tony Lanfranchi.

Always slightly mixed feelings at times like this though - given that we are all going sometime, how can anyone do better than to go doing the one thing they love, which they are better at than most of us who will ever walk this Earth, and which has defined their short time here?

I shall get a Guinness out of the fridge now.


#18 Ruairidh

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Posted 21 April 2005 - 23:24

Very very sad news.

#19 Bumblyari

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Posted 21 April 2005 - 23:30

He gave you your money's worth did Gerry.

One of the very best.


#20 AAA-Eagle

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Posted 22 April 2005 - 03:53

RIP :cry:

#21 fausto

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Posted 22 April 2005 - 06:59

I imagine him up there, waiting for the current generation of racing drivers to arrive, to give them a couple of lessons, or more...

RIP Gerry

#22 Frank de Jong

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Posted 22 April 2005 - 08:18

Terrible news. RIP.

#23 BRG

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Posted 22 April 2005 - 09:10

I am so sorry to hear this news. I had the pleasure of meeting Gerry twice. Once over a beer - what else? - in the Oulton Park paddock bar.

And once when he took me around Brand Hatch in a Cavalier Sports Hatch at a GM fleet buyer's day. He had been ferrying punters around all day at high speed when I got in sometime mid afternoon. He told me that he had donw at least 200 laps that day and had already worn out one set of Goodyears. He even had the steering wheel taped up to protect his thumbs. Most people would have been tired and surly by that point in the day, but not Gerry. We thundered down Paddock Hill Bend and ran wide over the kerb at the bottom. I saw him sneak a little glance at me - I suppose most of his passengers had tended to be .....let's say a bit nervous, as they were not real racing fans.... but I was a practising rally co-driver back then and such things were hardly scary for me. As long we didn't actually hit the barrier!

So I just grinned and said "Keep your bloody foot in then, Gerry!". He laughed and threw it sideways around Druids. I said I was into rallying and an even broader grin crossed his face. "Great, now I can have a bit of fun" he said and really started to push it. It was brilliant. His car control was just magical and we did three laps of absolute on-the-limit, tyre-squealing mayhem.

If there was anyone who proves that F1 doesn't necessarily have all the best drivers in the world, it was Gerry. His was a sublime driving talent, coupled with a talent for living life to the full. This was a man who was non-PC before anyone had even thought of political correctness. A unique motor-racing character, and he will be greatly missed.

Thanks for all the pleasure you gave so many racing fans, Gerry! Cheers!

#24 Carlos Guerra

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Posted 22 April 2005 - 09:17

So sad news.

First met Gerry late 1972 when he came to Estoril and entertained the crowd with his both strong and hilarious drive of the DTV Firenza 2300 in the G1 race.

We all had quite a laugh at the paddock, when Martin Birrane explained to Gerry why he had to cover up the Cona Coffee banners in his 240Z, having been told that the name of the coffee machine manufacturer is a delicate word in portuguese vocabulary...

Last met Gerry at the 2000 Goodwood Revival when he superbly drove a 7-litre Galaxie.
Another departure of a remarkable man that leaves us poorer.

Carlos Guerra

#25 eldougo

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Posted 22 April 2005 - 09:22

:( ...Sad news indeed ,TheBIG Fellow sure could put on a show.I used to refer to him as the UK version of Norm Beechey. :cool:

#26 Impspeed Gerry

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Posted 22 April 2005 - 10:53

I hardly ever get round to posting but this is such sad news. I agree with the comment that so many people felt they knew Gerry Marshall, a real Man of the People.

As for him and Lanfranchi, will we ever see the same again? - a real end of an era. I'm only glad I got to see them both race, and chat to them in the paddock once or twice.


#27 SEdward

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Posted 22 April 2005 - 13:29

As a 1970s Brands Hatch junkie, I have always felt that Gerry was one of the brightest stars in my own personal constellation. I never met him, but I somehow feel I knew him. Week in and week out, Gerry would be there throwing Vauxhalls around the circuit at impossible angles and making my 14-mile bike ride to the track worthwhile.

Oddly enough, my two abiding memories of the fat man both have negative connotations.

At one Boxing Day meeting at Brands, and I can't remember the year but it was probably 1971 or 1972, Gerry was stuck behind Norman Abbot's bright pink, wailing Escort. He could not find a way past, so he decided to drive through the obstructive Ford at the top end of Clearways. As a result, Gerry won the race and Abbot finished second with seriously modified rear bodywork. When Gerry arrived on the winner's rostrum to receive the garlands and so on, he was copiously cat-called and booed by the people in the startline grandstand. The stewards subsequently disqualified him and Abbot was awarded the victory.

The other memory I have of Gerry is a horrific accident just before Club Corner at Silverstone in the saloon car race supporting the 1979 British GP. I think he was driving a Ford Capri. I just remember turning away from the corner and seeing Gerry's car miles in the air, upside down and turning over and over.

In any case, Gerry Marshall (along with Brise, Lanfranchi, Morgan, Mallock and others) is one of the names that left an indelible mark on the British club racing scene in the 1970s. From what I have read, his demise was short and sweet (unlike Lanfranchi's), and I am thankful for that.

I almost feel that I have lost a friend, even though I never met the man. He seemed to embody everything that motorsport should be but, unfortunately, isn't.


#28 Darren Galpin

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Posted 22 April 2005 - 14:03

My abiding memory of Gerry Marshall is at Thruxton in 1994. Having raced earlier in a modified Aston Martin, he was discussing Nigel Mansell's immenent (but as yet not formally confirmed) return to Williams from Indycar for one off races with the Williams mechanics. Williams were present as Damon Hill was doing demonstration laps.

"He may be a wanker," said Marshall, "but he's a fast wanker!" It's made me laugh ever since.

#29 Doug Nye

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Posted 22 April 2005 - 15:15

From Roger Lane-Nott, Secretary of the BRDC, who I am sure would not object to my sharing this with you here. It pretty much says it all...:

"I am sorry to have to inform you that Gerry Marshall died at Silverstone yesterday (21st April 2005). He was testing a Camaro and the car came to a stop at Luffield. He would appear to have had a heart attack although this is subject to a post mortem. As Barry Williams said “ He died doing what he treasured most, in a car he enjoyed driving, at a circuit he revered in front of the Club he loved and of which was proud to be Member.” There are no further details at present but these will be promulgated on the web site as soon as they are available.

The Club sends its deepest sympathy and condolences to his family and friends."


#30 Alan Cox

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Posted 24 April 2005 - 13:32

Hard to believe that I won't be watching the big feller again. I first saw him at Oulton in 1966 when he drove the Barmoco TVR Griffith in the GT race supporting the Gold Cup - I remember he had "SODS" in capital letters on the door pillar, and he never disapponted thereafter. You knew that, if he lined up on the grid, he would give 100%, no matter which class he was in, or whatever the opposition. He has certainly given me more entertaimnent than any other driver I can think of, for which, thanks.

My abiding memory of him is when he drove Nick Mason's V16 BRM in an unscheduled demonstration at a VSCC April Silverstone meeting about ten years ago, and drove it like I have never seen anyone else demonstrate a V16 BRM before or since - including Jackie Stewart at the 1966 Gold Cup, which was pretty spectacular. Shame we never saw him race it.

I hope he is enjoying his reunion at the Kentagon in the sky.

#31 simonlewisbooks

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Posted 24 April 2005 - 15:48

Alan and co.

Yes the BRM V16 demo is also my abiding memory of the big man . I stood on the inside at Copse in the mist with my late father (always a fan of Gerry) as the car shreiked into sight and we were spellbound as it twitched sideways when a brake grabbed. Anyone else in such a car (valuable, delicate and not exactly know to handle well..) would have at the least lifted off but Gerry stuck his right foot down and was sideways through the corner at about a million revs! I have never heard or seen the V16 so properly used before or since.It was mesmeric.
The guy could REALLY drive a race car. Any race car!

Simon Lewis
Transport Books
Purveyors of Motor Sport Books and Photos since 1985

#32 David Lawson

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Posted 27 April 2005 - 13:51

This weeks Motorsport News or Motoring News as I still call it fittingly devotes the front cover and seven pages to Gerry Marshall.


#33 petefenelon

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Posted 27 April 2005 - 14:11

Originally posted by David Lawson
This weeks Motorsport News or Motoring News as I still call it fittingly devotes the front cover and seven pages to Gerry Marshall.


Splendid - I must buy this.

#34 Andrew Kitson

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Posted 27 April 2005 - 16:50

Just got MN, absolutely superb tribute to the great man. Highly recommended and hilarious in parts too. Brought a big smile remembering him, despite this sad time.

#35 ian senior

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Posted 28 April 2005 - 08:40

I've avoided contributing to this so far. Gerry was a bit special to me, he was the first racing driver I ever saw in live (as opposed to televised) action. So this has knocked me for six somewhat.

Harewood hillclimb, late 1968. My first brush with motor sport on the hoof, as it were. On arrival bale out of the car and head to see what's happening on the track. Blimey - a Vauxhall Viva - surely not? I mean, a Viva, for God's sake? Anyway, the bloke driving it is giving it a right good go. He crosses the finishing line, which comes immediately after a sharp right hander, with a lurid tail slide, beautifully controlled. Fantastic!!!! Must get this bloke's autograph. Run straight to car when it returns to paddock, and out gets a big man with a huge grin on his face. Doesn't look like what I'd call a racing driver, but I guess they don't all look like Graham Hill or Jackie Stewart. Can I have your autograph, please? "Bloody hell", he says, "I'm famous!"

He will be missed very, very much. 'nuff said.

#36 Mac Lark

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Posted 28 April 2005 - 09:04

Nice words Ian.

I recall seeing a racing Viva :eek: in a 1968 or 69 Yearbook. Anyway, it was 1970 when I saw this particular book. I ended up owning an HB Viva and even though it wasn't the coolest of cars, at least I knew that, via big Gerry, it had a racing history...

Was it just his girth that prevented him from racing say F5000s or was he especially tall as well?

#37 David Lawson

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Posted 28 April 2005 - 14:13

In Autosport today the tribute to Gerry Marshall includes a photograph of him racing a Lotus 61 in 1968, Marcus Pye describes his seating position as, "an interference fit".


#38 Andrew Kitson

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Posted 28 April 2005 - 16:11

That FF photo is actually from July 1969 when he made his single seater debut at Snetterton.
He had just passed the other Lotus for 2nd place. A race he was unlucky in, stopping with a broken gear linkage at the last corner on the last lap.
Gerry said in 'Only here for the beer' that the 61 was designated '61L' - L for large! He enjoyed driving the Formula Ford, but not in the company of other FF drivers that he described as 'lunatics and assorted hooligans'.
There was talk in the late 60s of an F5000 drive which sadly came to nothing. That would have been interesting to see, with Gerry's legendary car control!

#39 Alan Cox

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Posted 29 April 2005 - 17:32

I quite agree with you folk that the Motor(sport)ing News tribute is the finest thing they have done for years. They have managed to garner quotes from all the relevant people - well done MN. He deserves nothing less - when a GP driver passes on they only give him a page or two.


#40 Garagiste

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Posted 20 May 2005 - 09:09

I was on holiday last month and managed to miss this sad news completely. :(
Nice piece in Motorsport this month, and I expect we might have a Gerry Marshall Memorial Trophy at Goodwood this September. RIP.

#41 Jack-the-Lad

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Posted 21 May 2005 - 03:12

Although I'd read about Gerry's driving for many years, I only saw him drive three times, at each of the Revivals I've attended. The sight of him hustling big iron around was absolutely thrilling. Rest in peace, Gerry.....


#42 bill moffat

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Posted 21 May 2005 - 08:18


Greetings Jack.

Whilst perched at the bar of my "local" last night I realised that a familiar figure was gazing down at me with a smirk of approval. It made me smile last night, I thought I'd share it with you all this morning...and before you ask, Jack, it's not a bad drop of beer.

#43 Jack-the-Lad

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Posted 22 May 2005 - 01:44

So....GM had a second career and no one knew?


#44 Gregor Marshall

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Posted 20 April 2009 - 23:39

Fours years on and missed as much as ever Dad :kiss:

#45 exclubracer

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 00:07

I'm not a 4-wheel buff but I remember in the 70's seeing Gerry at Oulton in the Firenza, awesome. especially as I had a 2.3 VX 4/90 and I wondered what I could do to make it half as fast!!

RIP Big G, Gregor you must be so proud :up:

#46 fbarrett

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 00:23

Usually, great tales are posted by folks who knew the deceased, but I can't do so. Still, although I live 5,000 miles from England, haven't been there for 40 years, and never saw GM race, his reputation is so well known that he's probably the only British "tin-top" driver that I could name immediately...


#47 sterling49

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 05:15

I watched Gerry in so many cars, from the very early days in the '60s with the SL90 Brabham Viva HB to the great days of the Thames Television DTV Firenza and so on, he always gave a good show and put Vauxhall on the youngman's radar. Always seemed to be laughing and smiling when observed as a marshal (no pun intended) on the inside of Druids, whilst stabbing the throttle of course and twirling the rudder :up:

His visits to the Bar behind the Pavillion at Brands were the stuff of legends, and it was great to see a guy enjoying his sport with "Squeaker" and Big Tone, I for one, miss those days, and the characters :(

#48 SEdward

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 05:48

We all miss him Gregor.

Your Dad had more charisma and personality than the entire 2009 Formula 1 grid.


#49 elansprint72

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 07:21

Here is the man at work, taken on one of my rare visits to the Mallory hairpin; most of my shots show Gerry going sideways down the straights at Oulton.

Posted Image

#50 Hieronymus

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 07:36

Perhaps I am a bit out of line here, since I am not a Brit… but Gerry Marshall was almost as famous to me as the Grand Prix drivers of the early 1970s (the time I began to take a real interest in the sport).

At the time, I sometimes got hold of a copy of AUTOSPORT magazine. It was as scarce as hen's teeth out here, so one naturally studied every page in detail. When I first saw a photo of Gerry in AUTOSPORT, I momentarily thought that an uncle of mine suddenly became a racing driver. He looked exactly like Gerry Marshall (or was it the other way around?). Needless to say, the name stuck and for many years after that, I somehow always took note of his career.