DOWN THE PUB

WITH FER­NANDO RIBEIRO

Motor Sport News - - Historics -

He came from Brazil “I came to race in the UK in 1979. My brother Alex was nine years older than me and he was al­ready a For­mula 2 driver when I came here. The Bri­tish weather was a strug­gle and the food was a big deal for me. We lived in Sil­ver­stone vil­lage and in 1979 I raced a Van Diemen for the Je­sus Saves Rac­ing team. I did well in my first year here and I was sec­ond in the RAC Cham­pi­onship.”

It was a tough sea­son “A big ri­val was David Sears and we fought a lot of bat­tles and he won the RAC Cham­pi­onship in 1979 when I was sec­ond. The rac­ing was very tough and I broke my wrist at Oul­ton Park. That re­ally cost me the cham­pi­onship be­cause I missed two races.”

He went to Europe “The next year I moved to Royale Rac­ing as a works driver and the RP26 was a good car. Je­sus Saves was the main rea­son that we raced: to share our faith in Je­sus and spread the word. In 1980 we con­cen­trated on the Euro­pean For­mula Ford Cham­pi­onship.”

Then he quit the sport “I was third in the cham­pi­onship but there was a kind of a drama and we had a prob­lem with re­la­tion­ships in the team. It was my mis­take and I apol­o­gise about that. I was fight­ing for the cham­pi­onship but I didn’t take part in the last race and so I dropped to third place. Then I stopped rac­ing. It was a per­sonal cri­sis and a de­ci­sion that I made.”

He re­turned in Amer­ica “I went back to Brazil and started to study again and be­came a com­puter pro­gram­mer and opened my own con­sult­ing com­pany in Brasilia. Af­ter 13 years out of rac­ing I de­cided to put the record straight, so I went to Amer­ica and pur­sue the dream to race again. I wanted to get to Indycar. I raced there for 10 years and was two-time cham­pion in For­mula Rus­sell. I was rac­ing as a master as I was about 40 years old. I was granted US cit­i­zen­ship and now we are Amer­i­cans and Brazil­ians.”

He was back at Sil­ver­stone “Three years ago there was an idea to bring Je­sus Saves Rac­ing back. Adri­ano Medeiros won the Clas­sic For­mula Ford Cham­pi­onship and they in­vited me to do the Wal­ter Hayes Tro­phy. It was 36 years since I was last at Sil­ver­stone.”

Ribeiro: Sil­ver­stone out­ing

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