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NOTICE OF DEATH - ROBERT 'BOB' SALISBURY (1944-2018)

We regret to have to report that Associate Member Bob Salisbury passed away last Sunday at the age of 74. He had been suffering from cancer for some time. Bob was elected as an Associate Mechanic Member in 1970 when he was Chief Mechanic for Gerard Racing.

Bob joined Bob Gerard’s Renault dealership as an apprentice mechanic in 1960 where he became life-long friends with Julian Gerard who was enjoying considerable success in a Lotus 7 on the national scene. Gerard Racing was very active in Formula 2 with such drivers as Henri Pescarolo, Peter Gaydon, Brian Hart and Robin Widdows.  For a Hockenheim race in 1969, one of the team’s regular mechanics became unavailable and so Mr Bob, knowing of Bob’s interest in the team’s racing activities, invited him to make the trip. For Bob it was an extraordinarily successful introduction to international motor racing for Brian Hart won the German race in the team’s year old Brabham BT23C and the following weekend Robin Widdows won the Monza Lotteria in the same car, both races being rounds of the European F2 Championship. ‘Widz’ then finished second at Reims, inches behind Francois Cevert’s Tecno and a similar margin ahead of Piers Courage’s Brabham BT30 and Jackie Stewart’s Matra MS7. Bob’s place in Gerard Racing was sealed and he did not have to return to servicing Renaults.

There were more second places for the team in 1970 with a new Brabham BT30, at Pau and Barcelona. In the same year Bob married Mr Bob’s PA Maggie Morris and they shared a Merlyn Mk 11A in as many Formula Ford races as could be fitted in around the Formula 2 season. This in turn led to Bob offering to save the team money by testing the car rather than paying for one of the regular team drivers to travel to Silverstone or wherever to do so. Within a year Bob was racing the BT30 in club events, for which he prepared the car himself. For 1972, with the advent of 2-litre Formula 2, Bob Gerard decided to stay at home and bought a new Brabham BT35 for Bob to race in the Yellow Pages British Formula Atlantic Championship. They enjoyed a rewarding season, Bob finishing each of the first seven races in the first four and securing fourth in the championship.

For 1973 Mr Bob added a new Surtees TS15 to his stable but, against teams with bigger budgets, Gerard Racing struggled and the results were not so good, the highlight being second place to Ray Mallock’s March 73B at Thruxton. Before the end of the year, Gerard Racing quietly withdrew. In the following years Bob set up his own team, running Belgian Bernard de Dryver in the ShellSport International Championship in 1976 with a Formula 2 March-BMW 752. In the European Formula 2 Championship an association with March saw him running a car for Gianfranco Brancatelli in 1978 and for Argentinian Juan Traverso in 1979 amongst others. In 1990 Bob joined Paul Stewart Racing as chief engineer on its Formula 3000 team.

In 1996 Bob established Bob Salisbury Engineering, initially in a unit at Silverstone before moving to Millfield Business Park in Pattishall. In due course Bob’s daughter Jessie assumed day-to-day running of the business which specialises in show cars and simulators with clients among the best known companies in motor sport. To Bob’s wife Maggie, their children Jessie, Charlie and Will and grandchildren the BRDC extends its most sincere condolences. Funeral arrangements will be posted on the BRDC website when known.

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