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BTCC Memorable Drives: The Amazing Charlie Cox

Image taken from

Image taken from

Charlie Cox is often remembered as the voice of the latter part of the Super Touring era of the BTCC. Starring alongside Murray Walker in 1997 and John Watson between 1998 and 2001, Cox had a magnificent blend of excitement, drama and inimitable wit behind the microphone. However, it was not just behind the microphone that Cox made a name for himself. It was behind the wheel of his independent Mondeo in 1995 that Cox etched his entry into the evocative history of the BTCC.

The 1995 BTCC season was a landmark year for the championship; it was the first time that aero packages were completely legal on all the cars following the Alfa Romeo debacle from the previous year. Despite that, 1995 also became the year that an independent got a top 5 finish while the championship witnessed one of its most horrific accidents. You may have already guessed it, but it was indeed the Australian Charlie Cox who achieved not one, but both of these.

The first incredible feat came at the first of the two rounds held at the Brands Hatch Indy circuit. As the cars took their places on the grid, the typical Kentish weather began to play her dastardly game. The wet conditions baffled those on the grid; were they to put on intermediate or full wet tyres? As race time approached the rain appeared to lessen, prompting the majority of the field to opt for the intermediates. Cox was one of the few who decided to run with full wet tyres, and what a good decision it turned out to be. As the race began, the heavens truly opened upon the tarmac. For those on intermediate tyres they had to creep their way around the track.

Around the outside! Cox stuns crowds at a soaked Brands Hatch. Image Credit: Youtube

Around the outside! Cox stuns crowds at a soaked Brands Hatch. Image Credit: Youtube

For Cox however, he had chosen the correct tyres and was flying around the Indy circuit, carving his way through the timid field. As cars flew off left, right and centre (including the champion to be Cleland) Cox powered his way towards the front, even setting the fastest lap of the race. I can only imagine that the dizzying heights of his high position got to him a bit as he did manage to lose control on the entrance to Clearways. His pace and performance were definitely apparent as he managed to power past a BMW while recovering from his little lapse of concentration. He would finish the race in 5th place, just behind the two WORKS Ford cars. If it wasn’t for his spin, I think he would have managed a podium finish.

Here it is, in all its 1995 VHS style quality:

The Amazing Charlie Cox at Brands Hatch

Sadly when the championship reached Thruxton, Charlie’s luck well and truly ran out. As the race began and the field were streaming around, the cameras catch a glimpse of a car from the back barrel rolling its way off the circuit in a truly horrific way. Cox lost the car, which sent him into a spin and then numerous rolls that ruined the car and any chance of Cox escaping uninjured. He was treated for concussion and cracked ribs. The crash itself would rule Cox out for most of the ’95 season, returning only to complete the last few rounds. The car he did return in, the Ford Mondeo (instead of the Mondeo Ghia) turned out to be the first hatchback to enter the BTCC.

Instead of just reading about it, here is what is most likely the scariest crash the BTCC has ever witnessed:

Charlie Cox Crashes at Thruxton

Image taken from:

Image taken from:

When Charlie Cox returned to the championship in 1997 it was alongside the legendary Murray Walker in the commentary box. Until 2001, Charlie Cox blessed our ear sockets with his charismatic commentary style, complimented by the cool analytical vocals of John Watson (from 98-01).

His character building first and only year in the BTCC will without doubt go into the history books for all manner of reasons.

So, in the immortal words of Murray Walker, this one goes out to ‘the amazing Charlie Cox!’

Keep up with all my motorsport antics on Twitter @lewisglynn69

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