Bertie Fisher, from Ballinamallard, in Co. Fermanagh, Ireland
, was at the time, Ireland's most successful rally
driver of all time, with 20 wins to his credit.
Fisher had a couple of near misses and fatal accidents
over his time in the drivers seat, but none as eye-opening or lethally-potential as that of the dreaded Galway
'86 incident, where his brakes failed
at a 90' right junction on the second day, and he barely missed spectators
who, by standing behind tape set up by marshalls, naively thought they were safe.
This led to not only Fisher's retirement
for about 15 months but also totally changed the concept of Rally spectating in Ireland
This incident, coupled with the fatal '86 COI (circuit of Ireland) accident
's Kelli Grundel knocked a boy flying 20 ft into the air, when he was standing in the middle of a stage, created a two-month ban on rallying
, a thought which could hardly be thought of now.
His success was unrivalled, with victories in all different classes and teams
throughout the eighties
winning 20 tarmac championships
and numerous rallies both in Ireland
and the Isle of Man
Not, only a champion on the roads
, Fisher, and his family, became highly influential business people
in Northern Ireland
, especially in the steel
and construction business
. He is reputed to have made millions.
Unfortunately, there is no happy ending
to the Bertie Fisher story. On the 21st of January 2001
, Fisher, his two sons Mark
, daughter Emma
and wife Gladys
were returning to Fermanagh
in the family's private helicopter
when it lost control
were both killed instantly
suffered two broken arms
is in critical condition
. Bertie's life support
machine was turned off last night, Monday 22nd January 2000
, and 11.15pm, he had suffered extensive brain damage.
So ends the story of [Ireland's greatest rally driver of all time}.
Information gleaned from various sources, UTV, Irish Rally Website and AOL.