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Brett Riley

Born:
30th July 1953 (Age 67)
Auckland, North Island
Nationality:
New Zealander
Most recent race (in database):
Biography

This talented but perennially under-funded New Zealander did not progress further than Formula 3 but enjoyed his moments in the limelight.

British and European Formula 3

Brett Riley arrived in the British series in 1976 driving an underpowered Modus M1-Triumph. He swapped to a more conventional Ford unit intermittently and scored a couple of noteworthy third-place finishes at Thruxton and Oulton Park.

Riley secured sponsorship from Capitol Records and a ride with AFMP Euroracing over the winter but the team was a shambles. Switching preparation of his March 773 to Dave Price Racing rescued his season. Riley responded with an unexpected European F3 win at Donington and last-lap victory in the Silverstone Finals meeting.

He endured further frustration at the start of 1978 with the uncompetitive Ehrlich RP4 although he made a couple of British F1 appearances with the team’s F2 March 762-Hart that year – finishing fifth overall at Mallory Park. His fortunes improved when he replaced Ian Taylor in Dave Price’s Unipart March 783-Triumph. Riley’s late-season form salvaged fifth in the Vandervell British F3 series from an otherwise wasted year.

Second European victory

He remained with the team in 1979 alongside newcomer Nigel Mansell. It was another largely disappointing season for both although Riley was fifth in the British series once more. And he made the most of wet conditions at Donington Park to win another European round.

However, his career had stagnated and he remained in British F3 in 1980 with Dave Price. He won his first race of the year at Brands Hatch in a year-old March and impressed at Monaco. Having acquired a new March 803B-Alfa Romeo, Riley qualified on pole position for the British Grand Prix support race. But as ever, sponsorship was in short supply and Riley’s enthusiasm appeared to waver.

He did return to the category to finish eighth at Monaco in 1981 with a Price-run, Eddie Jordan Racing Ralt RT3-Toyota. A one-off return in 1984 apart, Riley returned to New Zealand where he won the national touring car title in 1991 and 1998 when driving a BMW M3 and 320i respectively.