FIFTEEN YEARS ago this weekend, Irish Tarmac Rally legend Bertie Fisher died, along with his son and daughter, Mark and Emma, when the family helicopter crashed in a Fermanagh woodland.
The Squirrel helicopter came down in woodland not far from Enniskillen. The Fishers were returning from County Mayo. Fisher’s wife, Gladys, and another son, Roy, survived the crash.
Bertie Fisher was one of the most iconic figures on the Irish rallying circuit and dominated the tar over the years.
Even 15 years after his passing in January 2001, Fisher remains one of the most popular names in rallying and especially in Donegal.
Fisher was a four-time winner of the Donegal International Rally, three times – in 1992, 1993 and 1995 – with Letterkenny’s Rory Kennedy calling the notes.
Picture caption: A familiar site – Bertie Fisher and Rory Kennedy after a win on rally being interviewed by Plum Tyndall.
From Ballinamallard in Fermanagh, Fisher won the Circuit of Ireland three times and had many big battles with the likes of Austin MacHale.
Fisher came to prominence in, first, a Mark 2 Escort, and then an Opel Manta in the 80s, winning Donegal in the Manta 400 in ’87 …
He and Kennedy carved out a magnificent partnership.
They won the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship in the M3 BMW in 1990 bef0re triumphing in the RS Subaru Legacy in 1992 and 1993, returning for more glory in the 555 Impreza in 1996.
The battles involving Fisher in Donegal are the stuff of legend in these parts.
With Kennedy on the notes, Fisher won out in 1992 …
A year later, they were back corking the champagne in Donegal …
The 1990s saw them go head-to-head with James Cullen, Kenny McKinstry, Frank Meagher, Austin MacHale and, later, Andrew Nesbitt.
Fisher and Kennedy were on top of the Donegal tar again in 1995 …
Since Fisher’s death in 2001, his legend and memory lives on, as shown in the tributes below …