This month it just so happened that there were no Southern drivers available when it came to interviewing, either because they were too busy, not booked in or they had been done before, if you'll pardon the expression, and as there were no coaches or even lorries that looked the slightest bit interesting it was thought that for a change it was time the sole surviving southern formula one stox promoter, Gerry Dommett, was fetured.
Although his Bristol track at the moment only holds three formula one meetings per season the man himself has been active in driving and promoting many Senior as well as `eff-two' sessions since the hurly burly fifties. In fact it was shortly after stox came to Britain that such was Gerry's interest to see the sport, he actually hitch-hiked from Hampshire to Harringay to witness the new spectacle. So impressed by it was he that on returning home he withdrew his savings and purchased an old Ford V8 saloon, taxed it and drove it down to Pennycross Stadium, Plymouth. There he removed the windscreen and took the car on to the track with the number 33 on the side and impressively gained a heat win and a final second place. He then replaced the screen and drove it back home!
Later on Gerry became captain of the Plymouth stock car team for much of the 50's and in 1958 he won the coveted "Red X" Trophy at Coventry, whilst in the same year now under his new national number of 97 he gained his only World Final placing for Senior stox which was a tenth.
With the later introduction of Junior stock cars Gerry switched his attentions to the smaller class of car and found himself enjoyment with the little 'uns for several years before he and his 633 number retired completely from the ovals (we believe that number is still in the South somewhere!) He did gain a sixth place in the Brafield 1966 World Final and finally hung up his helmet the following year after racing in an English stock car team which visited France.
He has, since those days, often threatened a return to the raceways with a formula one, but it has never happened what with his promoting and famed stunt shows taking up so much of his time.
Over the years the big man with a big flair for showmanship has promoted at Oxford, Southampton, Weymouth, Exeter, Swindon and Ringwood as well as, of course, the Mendips track near Bristol. He has also been a Control Board member and even sat on his local council committee (not as painful as it sounds). His stunts at one time were always a feature of his meetings with cars over ramps and blasting through walls of flame amongst other things, but his programmes these days are now bolstered by bangers, hot rods, motor-cycles and sidecars and midgets. This idea of a full programme of motor mayhem was obviously picked up by Gerry on his many trips across the `pond' to watch racing Stateside Style. He can claim on the promoting side the first ever Junior World Final in 1963 when his Swindon track pioneered the event and since then Gerry has featured several Formula Two World Finals and Semi's plus his biggest Formula One Stocktacular to date the 1974 Southern Semi-Final at Bristol.
Whilst most would agree that the safety fence at Bradford is the best in the country could it be that driver/promoter Stu Bamforth (3) saw the original idea on one of his many visits to the Mendips Raceway for the sheet metal there has been in place since the circuit opened in 1969. Another feather in Gerry's cap!
As a young lap Gerald Austin started in many jobs including butcher, decorator, farming and as a funeral parlour assistant but he never stayed the distance but today he is the epitome of the successful businessman with a garage and an exclusive country club in the heart of Hampshire's New Forest as well as his stox promotions to keep him occupied. He relaxes on water and in the air having both a boat and a light plane to get him around. It may often appear that perhaps this 47 year old man of stox is somewhat a dark horse amongst fans and his fellow promoters but believe it or not Gerry still loves his stock car racing and always has his ear to the ground to rebuild his depleted empire once more and it could just be that we might be seeing GD Promotions pulling a trump card in time for the British Stock Car Racing Jubilee Year. Let's hope so for the sake of the South.