A Friendship Forged in Motor Racing
Patrick Duffeler and Clyde Berryman are fast friends.
The founder of the Williamsburg Winery and the once co-owner of the Williamsburg Art Gallery share more than a love of wine and fine art. Each has ties to motor racing and yet . . .
“I would say Clyde is more of a fan of motor racing than I am,” says Duffeler, who played an integral role in that sport’s history by creating the inaugural Marlboro Formula One car team for his employer at the time, Philip Morris.
Raised in Tripoli, Libya, Berryman fell in love with motor racing under the tutelage of his father and a race-happy uncle, who encouraged his pursuit. He’s attended more than 20 Formula One races, some as a photojournalist, others as a pure spectator. His wife, artist Gulay Berryman, indulged his hobby as a loyal companion and through her work. Her painting Round Sainte Devote – 1970 Monaco captures an exciting finish for surprise victor Jack Brabham.
Clyde Berryman was there. “I pestered my parents to take me,” he said. “Monaco was the most exciting Grand Prix ever.”
Clyde’s own mini-museum collection in the basement of their Williamsburg home includes more than 1,000 race car models, dioramas of his favorite tracks, and a powerful collection of paraphernalia.
Duffeler and Berryman met in Williamsburg, though after trading stories, realized they had surely crossed paths earlier.
“Both of us were in Japan at the same time without knowing each other,” Duffeler says.
That was in 1976 when Clyde was working his first real job in freight. Duffeler was there to organize the first Grand Prix of Japan. They likely crossed paths and surely did so again in Saudi Arabia.
Their actual friendship started when the Berrymans visited the Williamsburg Winery and asked to meet its owner. Duffeler was aware of Gulay and appreciative of her art.
Gulay Berryman captured the 1970 and 1986 Monaco Grand Prixes in a pair of paintings gifted to Duffeler. Both hang in Wedmore Place.
While motor racing is pure enjoyment to Berryman, it was business for Duffeler. From 1971-78, he lived it. He attended every race, handled the budget that was his job to maximize, and oversaw every aspect of operations. He and his wife, Peggy, virtually lived with the drivers and spoke with them regularly. In fact, Duffeler traveled so much at the London and Lausanne offices during the week and at the races during the weekends that the company paid for Peggy to accompany him.
“It was a responsibility,” says Duffeler, who recommended to the Philip Morris board that at the beginning of the project committing to the safety aspect of motor racing would pay off. The board endorsed the idea that became a growing priority of the emerging sport.
“I was passionate about what I was doing,” says Duffeler, successful achieving World Championship titles in 1974 and 1976. “It was enormously satisfying to my pride of a job well done.”
Clyde is particularly nostalgic about those early days of motor racing.
“Up to the late 80s, it was a lot of fun,” he said. “Today, it’s more technology and money that run everything. The drivers did it out of passion. The drivers didn’t need to be in motor racing.”
Back then, Italian journalist Franco Lini referred to Duffeler as among the most important figures in the management of the sport.
But that was another era, long before serious winemaking became a consuming way of life.
Duffeler’s insider view on racing is opportunity for plenty of fodder among him and Berryman. Berryman’s enthusiasm for racing continues today, whereas Duffeler will tell you he loves cars, but other ventures, primarily continuing to grow the Williamsburg Winery, occupy his time.
Nonetheless, he and his wife, Francoise, enjoy gathering with Gulay and Clyde Berryman. Sometimes car talk surfaces, but they love conversing about many mutual interests, typically over a bottle of wine together.