DOWN THE PUB

WITH BRIAN CULLEN

Motor Sport News - - Historics -

Age: 72 Lives: Co Clare, Ire­land Ir­ish vet­eran

He’s been rac­ing for 53 years “I’ve been rac­ing since 1963. I’ve re­tired a good four times in be­tween! In my early days I did every­thing from hill­climbs to ral­lies and any­thing that had a com­pet­i­tive el­e­ment. But my real in­ter­est was to get into sin­gle-seaters. It de­vel­oped, though not with any great plan, from Ir­ish events to a few in the UK and, be­fore I knew what I was into, I was into In­ter­na­tional For­mula 2.”

He raced against some big names “I did F2 in 1970 and 1971 in a Brab­ham BT23C. It was a Winkel­mann Rac­ing ex-jochen Rindt car. It was a lovely car with a good en­gine. I was very for­tu­nate be­cause they re­ally were spe­cial days to be in F2. On the grid for some of the races I was usu­ally not too far be­hind Emer­son Fit­ti­paldi, Jackie Ste­wart and Jacky Ickx and all the big names of the time.”

He then raced a sports-rac­ing car “I re­tired af­ter the 1971 sea­son. F2 was chang­ing to two-litre en­gines and I’d run out of money so I had to call it a day. Many years later with my son Mark we formed a fun team with a Crossle 9S and we won a six­hour race at Magny-cours out­right. We raced mostly on the con­ti­nent and had fun and made some great mem­o­ries. Then I re­tired for good…”

And a Lo­tus “Bob Mont­gomery, a very good jour­nal­ist in Ire­land, bought a Lo­tus 2-Eleven to race with his son in 2008, but his son didn’t have the nec­es­sary race li­cence. So he asked if I’d fill in un­til his son got his li­cence. We did very well and fin­ished third in the Lo­tus Cup Europe. Then I re­tired for good…”

A chance of­fer tempted him back “Paul Mcmor­ran, who owns Crossle, asked me if I would drive a 12F in the 50th birth­day event at Kirk­istown. I didn’t know what a 12F was but it was a lovely car and I raced it as a one-off and, of course, that gave me the bug again.”

Now he’s in Clas­sic Rac­ing Cars “I came across this Crossle 19F for sale in Amer­ica. I re­mem­bered the car be­cause I’d raced against it in pe­riod. It’s a lovely car to drive with no great vices and it is nicely bal­anced. I’m do­ing the Clas­sic Rac­ing Cars with it this year.”

Cullen: tempted back

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