In two fabulous films from the BP Video Library we discover just what it takes to win in drag racing, saloon cars and rallying, then celebrate the marvellous Gerry Marshall – a prolific race winner and colourful character who deserves greater prominence in the history of motorsport.
Winning Ain’t Easy! goes behind the scenes of three very different forms of motorsport in 1975. First we join drag racing star Clive Skilton as he prepares his Vauxhall-powered Funny Car and then competes against rivals like the legendary Dennis Priddle. It’s a wonderful opportunity to see under the skin of the brutal-sounding, stunningly-fast dragsters and watch them in bursting into life on the strip – including the rare chance of experiencing the explosion of noise and speed from inside one of the cars!
Next we travel to the workshop of W.B. Blydenstein as the final preparations are made to the V8 Vauxhall Super Saloon car, which we then see in race action at Oulton Park. The exuberant Gerry Marshall is our guide for an in-car lap of the track, complete with insightful and witty commentary as he effortlessly controls the awesomely powerful motor. Finally, we witness the final preparations of the Vauxhall Group 2 rally team before Will Sparrow and co-driver Nigel Raeburn head to the Isle of Man for the fast and furious Manx Rally.
Whilst the film follows the Vauxhall team, this is also a wonderful chance to other stars of the day, including Roger Clark and Billy Coleman in the Ford Escort RS1800s, tackling the challenging tarmac stages of the Manx. Once again we are treated to in-car footage, this time from the tight and twisting lanes of the Isle of Man.
The second film, There’s Only One Gerry, is an action-packed celebration of a racing driver who, while not the best known, was one of the sport’s true characters and most dedicated professionals. The cigar-chomping Gerry may have joked he was ‘too old, too fat and too slow’ to be a racing driver, but the statistics say otherwise – by the time this film was made in 1976, the 35-year-old had scored more than 120 outright victories and numerous class wins on the saloon car racing scene.
Gerry Marshall was a popular and exuberant character – but he was also devastatingly fast, as this film brilliantly demonstrates. We join Gerry and the Vauxhall team at Brands Hatch for the last meeting of the season, and watch in awe as he wins in the Super Saloon race, securing the championship, and then powers to victory in two Production Saloon races, overcoming much faster cars with his determined commitment – just watch the line he takes through Paddock Hill Bend lap after lap in pursuit of glory. A real motorsport hero.
"More motor sport goodness from the BP and Castrol film archives. The action kicks off with Clive Skilton's Vauxhall Funny Car at the start of his '75 European campaign. Drag racing nostalgia doesn't come much better than this, with plenty of supporting action provided by 'Mad' Messent's Stripteaser Mini-Jag and the Backfire Volvo P1800 on the quarter-mile. This is then followed by the obligatory Gerry Marshall promo and some cracking film of the '75 Manx Rally, concentrating on Will Sparrow's efforts in his DTV Magnum. The bonus feature There's Only One Gerry focuses on Marshall as he dovetails drives in Baby Bertha and ProdSaloons" Octane
"Duke keeps on unearthing gems from the BP Video Library and this two-film set continues that theme. The first film follows Vauxhall-powered racers in drag racing, super saloons and rallying in the UK, while the second captures Gerry Marshall winning the 1976 supersaloon title, for Vauxhall, at Brands Hatch" Autosport
"Nostalgic motorsport DVD consists of two films. The first covers various Vauxhall-engined cars from 1975, including drag racers, V8-powered street cars and rally cars. The second focuses on the late Gerry Marshall, who won the 1975 and 1976 British Super Saloon titles in a Vauxhall Firenza called Baby Bertha. Both films are fun to watch, but there's no commentary" Auto Express