Updated: Aug 9, 2021
British and International motorsport has lost one of its leading statemen with the passing of Bernard Cottrell, who spent his whole lifetime in and around the sport.
Starting as a marshal, he rose through the ranks to become Clerk of Course for the British Racing and Sports Car Club's Southeast region, and then national chairman of the BRSCC in 2002.
He worked across all types of racing, from sprint races to the longer forms of racing, and a particular passion of his was endurance racing, using his role as BRSCC chairman to work closely with other major promotions like SRO and the ACO to organise and run rounds of international championships within the UK.
The British GT Championship made him their Race Director in 2007, a role he held for eleven seasons.
His manner for dealing with judicial items in a robust manner is well documented amongst drivers, many of them have stories of having to line up on the carpet in front of him, to discuss the errors of their ways, and listen to his suggestions about how to be a better race driver. During the past 24 hours, many have come forward to say how they now appreciate this, and are both better racers and people as a result.
Bernard cared for all the officials and marshals that he worked with, often sharing a story or a pint at the end of a day's racing. I can personally recall meeting him in the paddock at Le Mans, having a 'busman's holiday', and enjoying the pleasures of the venue and the crowd around him. And in 2013 he became Chairman of the UK governing body's Volunteer Officials Advisory Panel, predominantly concerned with representing marshals` interests as well as those of other volunteers and officials.
Another role he relished was being part of the team who organised the annual Autosport International Show at the Birmingham NEC.
In 2017, due to ill health, he gave up his roles with the BRSCC and British GT, but despite fighting leukaemia, he returned to become Race Director for the 750 Motor Club, passing on his experience and knowledge to the next generation of upcoming race control officials.
Prescott Motorsport offers its sincere condolences to all family, friends and officials affected by his loss.