Barry Weir: Around The World In 80 Days

Barry Weir is a retired motor home park owner who set a world record by doing something that sounds like it sprang from the pages of Jules Verne: he went around the world in eighty days.

Barry Weir drove was behind the wheel of a 1954 Aston Martin DB2/4 when he became the first person to ever drive an historic sports car all around the world in that time frame. His route took him across four continents and through twenty-two countries in what was the longest rally ever in the history of the Aston Martin. He wrote a thrilling account of his adventure in a book called Driving Ambition: An Adventure of a Lifetime, published in 2001.

Before his fortieth birthday, Barry Weir had never shown much interest in cars and road rallies. Then his wife Roma presented him with a Mercedes for his fortieth birthday, and everything changed. It spawned a deep passion for sports cars that deepened five years later when Barry Weir received an Aston Martin DB7 for his forty-fifth birthday.

When he heard about the “Around The World in 80 Days Motor Challenge,” planned for the year 2000, Barry Weir was hooked: he determined right away to take part in the event. Looking back on it today, though, he says he never could have done it without an incredibly tolerant spouse. “I have often had cause to reflect on my good fortune in my choice of a mate,” he wrote in Driving Ambition. “If it were not for Roma’s tolerance, patience and sense of humor, not to say generosity of spirit, I would never have managed to drive around the world.”

Today, Driving Ambition is out of print, although previously owned copies can still be found on Amazon and other used book websites.

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Barry Weir: “At Great Personal Risk”

Barry Weir is a retired businessman who spent nearly thirty years in the mobile home park business. He is also a bona fide hero.

On a chilly day in February 2010, Barry Weir was taking a walk along the waterfront with his wife Roma when he saw a man who was, he first thought, playing in the surf. But something didn’t look right, because the man he had spotted was fully dressed in a black suit. Barry Weir immediately called the coast guard on his cell phone. But then, when he saw the man roll over and lie face down in the water, he decided to act. “There was no one else there,” he said later on.

Barry Weir tore off his outer clothing and ran into the freezing water. “I’m not a good swimmer at all,” he says, but that did not stop him from hurrying to the man’s aide. “When I got out there and four foot waves were crashing over me, the question of ‘what am I doing here?’ did come into my head, but he wasn’t that far away, and there was a break in the waves so I went for it.”

He was able to get the man to shore, where he dragged him up on the beach. Others who had by then come along raced over to him, and began to administer CPR to the man Barry Weir had rescued.

Unfortunately, it was too late to save the man’s life. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

“It’s a pity I couldn’t get to him in time,” Barry Weir told reporters afterward, observing that it was just “second nature” for him to attempt the rescue. “But would I do it again – yes definitely.”

Barry Weir was recognized for his heroic actions. Being presented with the Honorary Testimonial from the Royal Humane Society “for having, on the 22 February 2010, at great personal risk, courageously attempted to save the life of a man in danger of drowning in the sea at Flaghead Chine Beach, Poole, Dorset.”

Barry Weir: A Late Blooming Passion

Barry Weir is a retired businessman who spent nearly thirty years in the mobile home parks business in the United Kingdom. Since his retirement he has become a leading authority on Britain’s Mobile Homes Act of 2013, and offers consulting advice on it.

He has also continued his enthusiasm for automobiles and road rallies, a passion that actually began before his retirement. “My passion for classic motor cars was a late bloom, unintentionally brought into flower by my wife Roma,” Barry Weir writes in Driving Ambition: An Adventure of a Lifetime. Roma presented him with a blue Mercedes Benz 300SL sports car to mark his fortieth year, and what was meant to be a generous gift of love quickly became a way of life.

“Until then I had looked upon cars as little more than a way of getting from A to B,” he goes on. As a family man he had always driven sensible, family-oriented vehicles. “I’d never considered anything as lavish as a sports car.”

Since that birthday present, Barry Weir has devoted as much time as possible to racing, especially road rallies. He became the first person to race a DB7 in a track event anywhere in the world and is a world champion rally driver. He also commissioned and helped to design the Aston Martin Rapide Bertone JET 2+2 concept car, which has won him the admiration of Aston Martin enthusiasts the world over and was shown at the Geneva Motor Show in 2013.

All of these are remarkable achievements for a man past his fortieth birthday, but as Barry Weir says, “There’s only so much you can do to the garden and rallying is a whole lot more exciting than golf!”