GARRETT BERRY – PAU – A WINNER, AN AMERICAN IN FRANCE.

podium 1

What a difference a week in racing makes? From a gravel trap at Magny Cours, Garrett Berry managed to stay out of the barriers and walls that are up close and personal, right at the edge of the track in Pau, roaring back to form to win from the front row in Race 2 around the famous street circuit in the shadow of the Pyrenees in Nouvelle-Aquitaine region of France.

”This was my best weekend of the year so far” reported the jubilant Amercian, “Pau being a street circuit, there is no room for error. which I managed nicely with zero damage.” Again qualifying was crucial, “I managed to find some pace which helped me in qualifying. So for Race 1 I started P9 and managed to be consistent and pressure the people in front of me to make mistakes so I finished 6th.”

Ah, Race 2… “I started P2. I got a better start than Pol Lopez on pole so by the time we got to the first corner I was ahead.” Things got worse for the Spaniard slipping back behind Race 1 winner Enzo Peugeot and Belgian Yani Stevenheydens before Lopez shunted, “There was a massive crash that caused a red flag on lap 2 which had us waiting for over 30 minutes. Then once the race resumed I was able to hold off Enzo for the win.” A win described as dominant in the FFSA race report.

Trying to spoil a thus far excellent weekend, Sunday morning did not dawn sunny and Pau decided to throw rain into the mix for Race 3, but the young man took it in his stride, “I started P7 due to some penalties from people ahead. This was the trickiest race because we went out on slicks and did 5-7 minutes then it started to rain so the session was stopped so we all could put on wet tires. Once the race resumed I stayed consistent in the wet allowing me to finish P5.”

With points paying finishers of 6th in Race 1 and 5th place in Race 3, Garrett moves up the championship table to 8th overall to begin the second half of the season at another famous racing venue in Spa, Belgium on the fearsome Grand Prix circuit at the beginning of June.

Club100 car 1

We can say ‘another famous racing venue’ as Pau as an F3 or F3000 race was, when Formula 3 was in it’s pomp, was every bit an eyebrow raiser, for perspective team managers looking for next big thing the higher formulae, as the Monaco F3 race, on Grand Prix weekend, perhaps not with quite the name recognition for the general public, or the Macau Grand Prix (run to F3 regs) or the F3 Masters at Zandvoort. With national championships largely to F4 in the modern era, we can add Garrett Berry’s win to another illustrious list of famous names as Pau winners, who’s CV benefited from it’s presence. Ready now, as Formula 1 race Fangio, Brabham, Clark, a stretch perhaps, as F2, Stewart, Fittipaldi. No? F3000 then Alesi, Montoya… By the turn of the century the power and speed of modern race cars had advanced to such an extent that only Formula 3 was deemed safe, but we can still name drop, Hamilton, Grosjean. And now the Grand Prix of Pau is run to Formula 4 regulations.

It’s weekends precisely like this that brought Garrett Berry’s racing adventure to France, but what is it like to live and race, as an American racing in France and Europe? He follows a line of American road racers, although they are from a very different, drivers like Phil Hill, Dan Gurney and Mario Andretti, seeking success at the top level, and making a career in motorsport via the European road racing scene. Circuit racing is more global now. “Well when I was in France for 2 months straight. I was staying in an Airbnb when I was not traveling from track to track for winter testing in a small town near circuit de Paul Ricard. That was a big barrier in the fact that I don’t speak a lot of French although I’ve tried learning some. Especially in the small town I was in. I just really kept to myself and just relaxed in my place when not at the track as traveling gets tiring. So for awhile, living by myself was boring and I did not make any friends my age in the town. I was missing my friends from home. So if I were to make my base in France again I would locate myself in a town with a large population of people my age. What did helped was having some people within Winfield taking me to the office to work there, and I’ve learnt to keep myself entertained when I wasn’t racing.”

Of course winning makes any hardship, all worthwhile, and Garrett Berry has a taste for it now, “Overall Pau was my best weekend by far and I hope there will be better in the upcoming rounds.”

Garrett on podium 1

Our best Club100 wishes for Pau and thanks to Garrett for his time.

Words: Chris Simpson
Video: Lucamedias @lucamedias
Photography: @kspreportages