NEWS

The mo­tor­sport world pays trib­ute to a true leg­end.

Mini Magazine - - Contents -

Mini-re­lated an­nounce­ments, this time in­clud­ing a trib­ute to the late, great Bar­rie ‘ Whizzo’ Wil­liams.

Bar­rie ‘Whizzo’ Wil­liams got his nick­name from a jour­nal­ist af­ter his out­stand­ing win at the 1964 Welsh In­ter­na­tional Rally. In his ar­ti­cle, the jour­nal­ist asked who this Welsh Whizz was, and the name stuck, de­spite the fact Bar­rie wasn’t Welsh!

His drive on the 64 Welsh was the first in­ter­na­tional rally win for the Mini Cooper S and the start of his pro­fes­sional mo­tor­sport ca­reer. He fol­lowed this up by be­com­ing the first Bri­tish driver to com­plete the Swedish Win­ter Rally with co-driver John Devon­port.

Born in 1938 in ru­ral Hert­ford­shire, Bar­rie cut his teeth driv­ing trac­tors and farm ma­chin­ery which seemed to have a con­stant at­trac­tion to the ditches and hedgerows around his home. A ca­reer in mo­tor­sport was al­ways on the agenda and at the ten­der age of 13 he wrote to York­shire en­tre­pre­neur David Brown ask­ing for a job as a rac­ing driver. He did even­tu­ally end up work­ing for David Brown, but build­ing trac­tors rather than rac­ing cars.

What strikes you most about Bar­rie is the longevity and va­ri­ety of his ca­reer. It’s some­thing you are un­likely to see with mod­ern rac­ing driv­ers who spe­cialise in a sin­gle dis­ci­pline. Bar­rie would drive any­thing in any for­mu­lae, of­ten beat­ing more es­tab­lished and ex­pe­ri­enced driv­ers.

Bar­rie started with hill­climb­ing in an Austin A40 Devon and ended his ca­reer driv­ing his­torics at top events in­clud­ing Good­wood. In be­tween he took part in over 700 races and 250 ral­lies. His ca­reer em­braced sa­loon cars, sports cars, en­durance rac­ing, his­torics and For­mula Three, where he raced along­side the likes of Der­ick Bell, Ron­nie Peter­son and Frank Wil­liams. Bar­rie re­tired from mo­tor rac­ing in 2017, af­ter 60 years of com­pe­ti­tion.

That Bar­rie was one of the greats of his era goes with­out say­ing, and record books will show his achieve­ments. What they won’t show is the time that Bar­rie ded­i­cated to en­cour­age young rac­ing driv­ers. One such driver, Andy ‘Ace’ Har­ri­son, who re­garded him as a men­tor, paid trib­ute fol­low­ing his re­tire­ment in 2017 by rac­ing in a replica hel­met.

Sadly, Bar­rie died the day be­fore Good­wood Re­vival and the team were in­un­dated by peo­ple wish­ing to ex­press their sym­pa­thies. Their re­sponse showed the high es­teem that Bar­rie was held in by en­thu­si­asts and rac­ers alike.

Bar­rie do­ing what he loved. Andy ‘Ace’ Har­ri­son and men­tor, Bar­rie. Replica hel­met cel­e­brated Bar­rie’s re­tire­ment. Words Mike Cowlam Pho­tog­ra­phy Var­i­ous

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