Irish rally legend ‘King Fisher’ to be celebrated in new book

Pictured is Bertie in action at the 1981 Circuit of Ireland Rally
Pictured is Bertie in action at the 1981 Circuit of Ireland Rally

A new book celebrating the life and career of Irish rally legend Bertie Fisher is to be published, containing hundreds of photographs and stories from throughout the Ballinamallard driver’s outstanding career whidh spanned over 30 years.

Titled ‘King Fisher - the Story of Rally Legend Bertie Fisher’ the book was written and compiled by rally enthusiast and photographer Fergus McAnallen with support from the Fisher family and the Armagh Tigers Committee, who work on a voluntary basis to raise funds and support local and worldwide charities.

After many years of research and development, the book will be officially released at a celebratory dinner in the Fisher Suite of Armagh City Hotel on Friday, March 4 to mark the 15th anniversary of the tragic accident that claimed the lives of Bertie and his children Mark and Emma.

The new book will chronicle Bertie’s well-documented success on Ireland’s rally stages and beyond, in addition to his charity work and the impact he had on the business community throughout the British Isles with his family company, Fisher Engineering Ltd.

A four-time Irish tarmac champion, Bertie was best known for his 20 international victories and was a three-time winner of the Circuit of Ireland rally, as well as a record breaking six times winner at the Rally of the Lakes in Killarney and four times winner of the Ulster Rally.

Throughout his career he also lent his support to motorsport clubs the length and breadth of Ireland and raised a significant sum for a number of local charities, donating his prize money from winning events on a number of occasions.

Kieran McAnallen, Chairman of the Armagh Tigers Committee and a long time sponsor and friend of Bertie said: “This book has been in the pipeline for many years so we are delighted to finally be able to publish it and bring together some of the most iconic memories and photos from Bertie’s illustrious career.

“He is a rally legend and was a great friend to many, whether it was through the sport, his charity work or his business, and this book is a real tribute to him and what truly was a glorious period in the history of Irish rallying.

“The presentation and the attention to detail throughout the book is outstanding, as Fergus’s research and catalogue of images is second to none and together it really brings back a lot of great memories of Bertie.”McAnallen, who compiled the book said: “I’ve always been interested in cars and rallying, ever since I was a small boy. I loved the history and nostalgia behind it all, collecting old magazines, programmes and videos, but for me there was always one driver that stood out, and that was Bertie.

“He was a hero to me and it was an honour and a privilege to be able to put this book together. It took many years of research, but the end result is packed with hundreds of handpicked images from dozens of archives, and contains an in depth synopsis of his career, results and life outside the sport. In writing the book I have conducted many interviews across the British Isles with people who were involved with Bertie’s rallying career – from mechanics to co-drivers, each had a unique story to share.

“We wanted to create something that celebrates the legacy of Bertie and remembers the lives of Mark and Emma. Still to this day Bertie remains a popular figure in Irish rally history and with his professionalism and dedication to safety improvements, he really helped to bring Irish rallying to another level.”

Motor clubs and rally enthusiasts can buy tickets for the book launch and night of celebration at www.bertiefisher.com where the book is also available for pre order, priced at £45.

“Whether you knew Bertie or not, the launch is going to be an unmissable evening and I would encourage rally fans old and new to get involved and join us for the celebrations. Tables are selling fast, so we would urge anyone who is interested to book now.” Kieran added.

All proceeds from the book will be donated to the Fisher Foundation, which provides financial support to young people volunteering overseas and continually works to improve motorsport safety standards.