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Dublin: 10 °C Sunday 17 February, 2019

Irish champion who had a competitive spirit and a charitable soul

The 30-year career of Fermanagh rally legend ‘King Fisher’ to be celebrated in book.

A victorious Bertie Fisher in 1987.
A victorious Bertie Fisher in 1987.

A 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 that spanned more than 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 years of research and development, the book will be 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.

Kingfisher2 Bertie in action at the 1981 Circuit of Ireland Rally.

The book will chronicle Fisher’s 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, Fisher 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-time winner at the Rally of the Lakes in Killarney and a four-time Ulster Rally winner.

Throughout his career he also lent his support to motorsport clubs across 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.”

Fergus 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.

Kingfisher1 Fergus McAnallen, author of the book is pictured with Fisher's Open Mantra rally car.

“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 hand-picked 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  where the book is also available for pre-order, priced at £45 (€64).

“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 McAnallen added.

Kingfisher Kieran McAnallen, chairman of the Armagh Tigers Committee and author Fergus McAnallen.

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.

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