Mark Wilson - Fast On Water 2017

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Mark Wilson

Circuit > Driver Profiles (UK)
Born: 18.03.57
Started racing: 1968. Joined Formula Grand Prix in 1979
Retired: ?
1980 - British Champion Formula Grand Prix ON; runner-up European Championships Formula Grand       Prix ON; runner-up World Championships Formula Grand Prix ON.
1982 - 3rd overall in FONDA two litre World Series.
1983 - 10th overall in Formula grand Prix World Series; runner-up in Rolatruc Natonal Grand Prix Series.
1984 - 4th overall in Formula grand Prix World Series.
1985 - Winner Paris six hour (with Steve Kerton); 4th overall Formula Grand Prix World Series.
Mark sat in his dad, Jack's boat.
Mark with Michael Werner, John Hill
and Fiona Brothers.
Mark and Steve Kerton after winning the 
1985 Paris Six Hour.
Mark in his Impala sponsored Hodges. Bristol 1982
The following is based on an article published in Powerboat 83 Yearbook
He has been racing since the age of ten. He started racing two litre ON boats in 1980, becoming British Champion in that year, and second in the world championship.
Jackie, Mark’s father, raced for twenty years, retiring in 1979. Even after retiring he maintained a close association with the sport, instigating the Formula ON Drivers Association (FONDA). Nobody could have been more pleased than Jackie, when his ten-year-old son demanded to race.
‘Molinari gave me my first ride in a catamaran when I was ten years old. Now he’s giving me another, but this time it’s the real thing.’ This was Mark Wilson’s comment on the fact that he was racing in Martini colours  for the 1983 Formula 1 season, under contract to Renato Molinari. That year he was also competing in Formula Grand Prix, sponsored by Rolatruc. This meant a total of seventeen international and six national events, along with individual world, European  and National sprint championships.
Mark was making no easy decision when he signed with Molinari, fifteen years after his first exciting ride. ‘I was having nightmares about it. It was a very difficult decision to make because I was already committed to race Formula Grand prix and the competition between the engine manufacturers meant that Mercury were opposed to me racing Formula 1 because it is dominated by Johnson and Evinrude. I wasn’t really sure what Dad felt about it either because he has been very much in favour of ON racing all these years. But when we sat down and talked he made it very clear that he had never had an offer like this one in all the years he raced, and wanted to see me take every opportunity that came my way. It’s not that he is opposed to Formula 1 like so many people think. When he started up FONDA it was to ensure that the ON class could race separately. I won five national races one year but came third overall at three of them because Formula 1 rigs were racing at the same time.  And that is what he was trying to change.’
Unfortunately Mark’s 1983 season was cut short during the Benson and Hedges Grand Prix at Casale Monferrato, Italy. Mark not having scheduled Casale into his busy double formula itinerary, was unable to appease either sponsors now that it had been  incorporated into the World Series, because it clashed with the renowned Bristol Grand Prix. Wilson, under contract to race for Martini at all Formula 1 World Series events and Rolatruc to race Formula Grand Prix at Bristol had to compromise. He raced in Bristol on the Saturday and flew to Italy late on Saturday night for the four Formula 1 heats scheduled for the Sunday.
Mark, having arrived at midnight was allowed to test his Molinari rig early on the Sunday morning. The boat disappeared round the slight bend in the river for a preliminary lap but never returned. No one actually saw the accident and Mark himself cannot remember what happened. After examining the wreckage, however, it seemed the gearcase may have jammed and exploded, which caused the boat to nose-dive. Mark was shot through the front of the hull as it disintegrated around him. Very shaken and with what appeared to be reasonably minor injuries, including cuts, one of which on his heel, requiring thirty-six stitches, he discharged himself from hospital and flew back to England. It was only then that the full extent of his injuries was discovered. They  included a broken collarbone, broken ribs and severe internal injuries. Subsequently he was lucky not to lose his leg as a result of the infection that had taken hold on his badly cut foot.
Mark was back racing before the end of the season, in the Formula Grand Prix race, back at Casale Monferrato.
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